OBJECTIVE Schizophrenia is associated with profound cognitive and psychosocial impairments. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) are used for diabetes and obesity treatment, and animal studies have indicated cognitive-enhancing effects. In this investigator-initiated, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, we tested non-metabolic effects of exenatide once-weekly (Bydureon™) in obese, antipsychotic-treated patients with schizohrenia spectrum disorder. METHOD Before and after 3 months of exenatide (N = 20) or placebo (N = 20) treatment, patients were assessed with the following: Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS), Rey-Osterreith complex figure test (REY), Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), Personal and Social Performance Scale (PSP) and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). We used BACS composite score as the main outcome measure. RESULTS Repeated measures analysis of variance on BACS composite score showed significant effect of 'Time' (P < 0.001), no effect of 'Group' (P = 0.64) and no 'Time*Group' interaction (P = 0.77). For REY, SF-36, PSP and PANSS, only significant 'Time' effects were found. CONCLUSION The non-significant results of this first clinical trial exploring non-metabolic effects of a long-acting GLP-1RA in patients with schizophrenia could reflect a general problem of translating cognitive-enhancing effects of GLP-1RAs from animals to humans or be explained by factors specifically related to schizophrenia spectrum patients with obesity such as antipsychotic treatment.