Concentrations of plasma homovanillic acid before treatment were highly correlated with global severity of illness in schizophrenic patients, both before and after treatment. In contrast, a fixed dose of haloperidol did not affect those concentrations. Thus, in patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, plasma homovanillic acid may reflect the severity of illness, but not be influenced by short-term pharmacological perturbations by neuroleptics.