​Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarah Linnstaedt

Condition: chronic pain and PTSD

Research Description: One in five U.S. women experience sexual assault (SA) in their lifetime, with women of color disproportionately burdened.  Past studies of women SA survivors indicate that chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMSP) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common outcomes of SA, and that black women experience substantially higher rates of these outcomes than white women. CMSP and PTSD are hard to treat, costly to society and associated with substantial suffering and diminished health. There are currently no therapeutics that prevent CMSP and PTSD. Previous research in humans and animals indicates that an FDA-approved form of estrogen may protect against the development of CMSP and PTSD. However, no randomized clinical trials have been performed to date to assess whether estrogen reduces CMSP and PTSD in women following SA. This pilot, placebo-controlled clinical trial including 40 SA survivors will assess the feasibility, safety, and initial efficacy of estrogen administration on CMSP and PTSD outcomes. The team will collaborate with the Better Tomorrow Network for enrollment, a network of 13 Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner sites across the U.S. Positive results could lead to larger trials and, ultimately, to improving long-term outcomes for sexual assault survivors.

Funding Partners: Cures Within Reach

CWR funding role: Primary funder

Current Research