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To examine clinical outcomes in Asian patients with schizophrenia receiving monotherapy with olanzapine, risperidone or typical antipsychotics in naturalistic settings.In this report, data from the first 12 months of the prospective, observational, 3-year Intercontinental Schizophrenia Outpatient Health Outcomes study are presented for patients from participating Asian countries (Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia) who were started on, or switched to, monotherapy with olanzapine (n = 484), risperidone (n = 287) or a typical antipsychotic drug (n = 127) at baseline.At 12 months, overall reduction in the score of Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness rating scale was greatest with olanzapine (p < 0.001 vs typical agents), followed by risperidone (p = 0.007 vs typical agents) treatment. Olanzapine treatment was found to have significantly better effects than typical agents on negative and depressive symptom scores, and significantly greater improvements than risperidone on negative and cognitive symptoms. The occurrence of extrapyramidal symptoms was least likely with olanzapine (p < 0.001 vs typical agents, and p = 0.012 vs risperidone), while the estimated odds of tardive dyskinesia were greatest in the typical treatment group (p = 0.046 vs olanzapine, and p = 0.082 vs risperidone). Mean weight increase was greater for olanzapine-treated patients compared with the other agents (p = 0.030 vs typical agents and p < 0.001 vs risperidone). The risk of menstrual disturbance was relatively high with risperidone when compared with olanzapine treatment (p < 0.001).The results of this observational study indicate that, in Asian patients with schizophrenia, olanzapine may offer benefits when compared with typical agents or risperidone. However, the significantly greater odds of weight gain should be considered in the clinical management of olanzapine-treated patients.