Over the last few years atypical antipsychotics have been used increasingly in the pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia. This review provides an overview of the pharmacological and clinical characteristics of atypical antipsychotics. In particular we discuss their efficacy in treating psychotic and negative symptoms as well as treatment-refractory patients. The most important side effects as well as their possible interactions are reviewed in detail. Recommendations for the clinical use are given.