The conventional antipsychotic drugs are associated with a wide range of unwanted effects (Barnes & Guy Edwards, 1993; Guy Edwards & Barnes, 1993). These side-effects represent part of the burden of patients given antipsychotic medication, affect compliance with treatment, and contribute to the prescribing clinician's weigh-ing-up of the risks and benefits of a particular antipsychotic in an individual case. The conventional drugs show differences in their side-effect profiles, particularly with regard to sedation and extrapyramidal problems, and it is probably a reasonable generalisation to state that these have largely governed clinicians' choice. The newer ‘atypical’ antipsychotics (such as clozapine, risperidone, sertindole, olanzapine, quetiapine and amisulpride) are less liable to cause extrapyramidal symptoms than the conventional antipsychotics. However, this advantage is greater for some of the new drugs than for others, and their safety profiles also differ in other key respects. Thus, in terms of side-effects and safety, each of these newer drugs must be evaluated individually.