University HealthCare Alliance

January 15, 2020

Stanford Recruiting Patients for Opioid-Tapering Study

Stanford Primary Care is now recruiting for a patient-centered, opioid tapering study called EMPOWER (Effective Management of Pain and Opioid Free Ways to Enhance Relief). The rate of the taper is negotiated with the patients and alternate ways of pain control are stressed. 

Study design:

  • A very slow, personalized opioid taper plan (over one-year). Coming completely off opioids is not required unless that is the patient’s goal
  • Regular clinic follow-ups 
  • Completing electronic (online) surveys at various study time points
  • Assignment in a group pain management class in addition to clinical care 

Who qualifies for enrollment:

  • Chronic non-cancer pain > 6 months
  • Opioid treatment for > 3 months
  • Minimum morphine equivalent dose 10MEDs
  • Age 18 or over
  • English fluency
  • Must be able to participate in a group setting at study locations

Patients are randomized into the following groups:

  • Taper only
  • Taper plus 8 weeks psychologist-led pain CBT-based group sessions
  • Taper plus community-based pain self-management group sessions

Patients fill out questionnaires at regular intervals and are paid for their time.

Study locations:

Stanford Primary Care
2518 Mission College Blvd, Suite 101
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Stanford Primary Care
960 N San Antonio Rd, Suite 101
Los Altos, CA 94022

Stanford Family Medicine
211 Quarry Rd  
Palo Alto, CA  94304

For more information and patient stories go to  
To set up an appointment contact: Luzmercy Perez at

The EMPOWER Study funding is provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).