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Various lines of evidence indicate the presence of progressive pathophysiological processes occurring within the brains of patients with schizophrenia. By modulating chemical neurotransmission, antipsychotic drugs may influence a variety of functions regulating neuronal resilience and viability and have the potential for neuroprotection. This article reviews the current literature describing preclinical and clinical studies that evaluate the efficacy of antipsychotic drugs, their mechanism of action and the potential of first- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs to exert effects on cellular processes that may be neuroprotective in schizophrenia. The evidence to date suggests that although all antipsychotic drugs have the ability to reduce psychotic symptoms via D(2) receptor antagonism, some antipsychotics may differ in other pharmacological properties and their capacities to mitigate and possibly reverse cellular processes that may underlie the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.