Objective: Evidence to date, while sparse, suggests that patients taking long-term opioids require special considerations and protections to prevent potential iatrogenic harms from opioid de-prescribing, such as increased pain or suffering. Following this study protocol, the EMPOWER study seeks to address multiple unmet needs of patients with chronic pain who desire to reduce long-term opioid therapy, and provide the clinical evidence on effective methodology.
Methods: EMPOWER applies patient-centered methods for voluntary prescription opioid reduction conducted within a comprehensive, multi-state, 3-arm randomized controlled comparative effectiveness study of three study arms (1) group cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain; (2) group chronic pain self-management; and (3) usual care (taper only). Specialized electronic data capture systems collect patient reported symptoms and satisfaction data weekly and monthly during the taper, with real-time clinical alerts and electronic feedback loops informing, documenting, and steering needed care actions.
Conclusion: The EMPOWER study seeks to provide granular evidence on patient response to voluntary opioid tapering, and will provide evidence to inform clinical systems changes, clinical care, patient satisfaction, and patient outcomes for opioid reduction.
Keywords: CHOIR; EMPOWER; Opioids; chronic pain; taper.
© 2019 American Academy of Pain Medicine.