Adults with autism needed for anxiety study

A new study is looking for adults with a diagnosis of autism and symptoms of anxiety who live in Western Australia.

Katherine Hatch, from the School of Medicine at The University of Western Australia, is co-ordinating the study on behalf of lead psychiatrist Professor Sergio Starkstein.

The STRATA(SerTRaline for AnxieTy in adults with Autism) study aims to find out whether the medication sertraline reduces symptoms of anxiety, enhances quality of life, and is effective in the longer term as a treatment for adults with autism.

“The study also aims to understand side effects of the treatment, what people think about being invited to the study, and their experiences of taking part,” Ms Hatch said.

STRATA is an international collaboration between the UK and WA and the trial will be run in four geographical regions in England and one in WA– the research in Australia is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The study is looking for 306 people, 75 in WA, who will be allocated at random to receive either encapsulated sertraline or an identical inactive placebo, which they will be asked to take for up to 12 months.

“Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires about themselves, their anxiety and mental health, use of services, and any adverse effects they may experience at several time points,” Ms Hatch said.

The results will be used to help understand whether sertraline is an acceptable treatment and whether it is better or not than placebo in the treatment of anxiety in autistic adults.

Some people may not be eligible to participate in the study if they are already taking an anti-anxiety or certain other medications or if they have been diagnosed with some other specific conditions.

To express interest in participating, or for more information, visit the website

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