Objective This study was undertaken in the belief that the atypical antipsychotic drug quetiapine could prevent apoptosis in the penumbra region following ischemia, taking into account findings that show 5-hydroxytryptamine-2 receptor blockers can prevent apoptosis. Methods We created 5 groups, each containing 6 animals. Nothing was done on the K-I group used for comparisons with the other groups to make sure adequate ischemia had been achieved. The K-II group was sacrificed on the 1st day after transient focal cerebral ischemia and the K-III group on the 3rd day. The D-I group was administered quetiapine following ischemia and sacrificed on the 1st day while the D-II group was administered quetiapine every day following the ischemia and sacrificed on the 3rd day. The samples were stained with the immunochemical TUNEL method and the number of apoptotic cells were counted. Results There was a significant difference between the first and third day control groups (K-II/K-III p=0.004) and this indicates that apoptotic cell death increases with time. This increase was not encountered in the drug groups (D-I/D-II p=1.00). Statistical analysis of immunohistochemical data revealed that quetiapine decreased the apoptotic cell death that normally increased with time. Conclusion Quetiapine is already in clinical use and is a safe drug, in contrast to many substances that are used to prevent ischemia and are not normally used clinically. Our results and the literature data indicate that quetiapine could help both as a neuronal protector and to resolve neuropsychiatric problems caused by the ischemia in cerebral ischemia cases. © 2013 The Korean Neurosurgical Society.