Cognitive function and treatment response trajectories in first-episode schizophrenia: evidence from a prospective cohort study

Edward Millgate, Kira Griffiths, Alice Egerton, Eugenia Kravariti, Cecilia Casetta, Bill Deakin, Richard Drake, Oliver D. Howes, Laura Kassoumeri, Sobia Khan, Steve Lankshear, Jane Lees, Shon Lewis, Elena Mikulskaya, Ebenezer Oloyede, Rebecca Owens, Rebecca Pollard, Nathalie Rich, Sophie Smart, Aviv SegevKyra Verena Sendt, James MacCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives This prospective cohort study tested for associations between baseline cognitive performance in individuals early within their first episode and antipsychotic treatment of psychosis. We hypothesised that poorer cognitive functioning at the initial assessment would be associated with poorer antipsychotic response following the subsequent 6 weeks. Design Prospective cohort. Setting National Health Service users with a first-episode schizophrenia diagnosis, recently starting antipsychotic medication, recruited from two UK sites (King's College London, UK and University of Manchester, UK). Participants attended three study visits following screening. Participants Eighty-nine participants were recruited, with 46 included in the main analysis. Participants required to be within the first 2 years of illness onset, had received minimal antipsychotic treatment, have the capacity to provide consent, and be able to read and write in English. Participants were excluded if they met remission criteria or showed mild to no symptoms. Primary and secondary outcome measures Antipsychotic response was determined at 6 weeks using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), with cognitive performance assessed at each visit using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS). The groups identified (responders and non-responders) from trajectory analyses, as well as from >20% PANSS criteria, were compared on baseline BACS performance. Results Trajectory analyses identified 84.78% of the sample as treatment responsive, and the remaining 15.22% as treatment non-responsive. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regressions observed no significant relationship between baseline BACS on subscale and total performance (BACS t-score: OR=0.98, p=0.620, Cohen's d=0.218) and antipsychotic response at 6 weeks. Conclusions This investigation identified two clear trajectories of treatment response in the first 6 weeks of antipsychotic treatment. Responder and non-responder groups did not significantly differ on performance on the BACS, suggesting that larger samples may be required or that an association between cognitive performance and antipsychotic response is not observable in the first 2 years of illness onset. Trial registration number REC: 17/NI/0209.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere062570
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022


  • Adult psychiatry
  • Schizophrenia & psychotic disorders


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive function and treatment response trajectories in first-episode schizophrenia: evidence from a prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this