Cognitive behavioural therapy added to standard care for first-episode and recent-onset psychosis

Susanna Franziska Mayer, Ciaran Corcoran, Liam Kennedy, Stefan Leucht, Irene Bighelli

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Abstract

Background: Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be effective in the general population of people with schizophrenia. It is still unclear whether CBT can be effectively used in the population of people with a first-episode or recent-onset psychosis. Objectives: To assess the effects of adding cognitive behavioural therapy to standard care for people with a first-episode or recent-onset psychosis. Search methods: We conducted a systematic search on 6 March 2022 in the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Study-Based Register of Trials, which is based on CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, ISRCTN, and WHO ICTRP. Selection criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing CBT added to standard care vs standard care in first-episode or recent-onset psychosis, in patients of any age. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors (amongst SFM, CC, LK and IB) independently screened references for inclusion, extracted data from eligible studies and assessed the risk of bias using RoB2. Study authors were contacted for missing data and additional information. Our primary outcome was general mental state measured on a validated rating scale. Secondary outcomes included other specific measures of mental state, global state, relapse, admission to hospital, functioning, leaving the study early, cognition, quality of life, satisfaction with care, self-injurious or aggressive behaviour, adverse events, and mortality. Main results: We included 28 studies, of which 26 provided data on 2407 participants (average age 24 years). The mean sample size in the included studies was 92 participants (ranging from 19 to 444) and duration ranged between 26 and 52 weeks. When looking at the results at combined time points (mainly up to one year after start of the intervention), CBT added to standard care was associated with a greater reduction in overall symptoms of schizophrenia (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.47 to -0.08, 20 RCTs, n = 1508, I2 = 68%, substantial heterogeneity, low certainty of the evidence), and also with a greater reduction in positive (SMD -0.22, 95% CI -0.38 to -0.06, 22 RCTs, n = 1565, I² = 52%, moderate heterogeneity), negative (SMD -0.20, 95% CI -0.30 to -0.11, 22 RCTs, n = 1651, I² = 0%) and depressive symptoms (SMD -0.13, 95% CI -0.24 to -0.01, 18 RCTs, n = 1182, I² = 0%) than control. CBT added to standard care was also associated with a greater improvement in the global state (SMD -0.34, 95% CI -0.67 to -0.01, 4 RCTs, n = 329, I² = 47%, moderate heterogeneity) and in functioning (SMD -0.23, 95% CI -0.42 to -0.05, 18 RCTs, n = 1241, I² = 53%, moderate heterogeneity, moderate certainty of the evidence) than control. We did not find a difference between CBT added to standard care and control in terms of number of participants with relapse (relative risk (RR) 0.82, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.18, 7 RCTs, n = 693, I² = 48%, low certainty of the evidence), leaving the study early for any reason (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.05, 25 RCTs, n = 2242, I² = 12%, moderate certainty of the evidence), adverse events (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.97, 1 RCT, n = 43, very low certainty of the evidence) and the other investigated outcomes. Authors' conclusions: This review synthesised the latest evidence on CBT added to standard care for people with a first-episode or recent-onset psychosis. The evidence identified by this review suggests that people with a first-episode or recent-onset psychosis may benefit from CBT additionally to standard care for multiple outcomes (overall, positive, negative and depressive symptoms of schizophrenia, global state and functioning). Future studies should better define this population, for which often heterogeneous definitions are used.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD015331
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Volume2024
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

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