Decreasing risk among HIV patients on opioid therapy for chronic pain: Development of the TOWER intervention for HIV care providers

Jessica Robinson-Papp, Judith Aberg, Emma K.T. Benn, Angela Bryan, Gabriela Cedillo, Yosuke Chikamoto, Mary Catherine George, Brady Horn, Alexandra Kamler, Allison Navis, Alexandra Nmashie, Maya Scherer, Angela Starkweather, Barbara Vickrey, Linda Weiss, Qiuchen Yang, Jeffrey Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Many people with HIV (PWH) experience chronic pain that limits daily function and quality of life. PWH with chronic pain have commonly been prescribed opioids, sometimes for many years, and it is unclear if and how the management of these legacy patients should change in light of the current US opioid epidemic. Guidelines, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (CDCG), provide recommendations for the management of such patients but have yet to be translated into easily implementable interventions; there is also a lack of strong evidence that adhering to these recommendations improves patient outcomes such as amount of opioid use and pain levels. Herein we describe the development and preliminary testing of a theory-based intervention, called TOWER (TOWard SafER Opioid Prescribing), designed to support HIV primary care providers in CDCG-adherent opioid prescribing practices with PWH who are already prescribed opioids for chronic pain. TOWER incorporates the content of the CDCG into the theoretical and operational framework of the Information Motivation and Behavioral Skills (IMB) model of health-related behavior. The development process included elicitation research and incorporation of feedback from providers and PWH; testing is being conducted via an adaptive feasibility clinical trial. The results of this process will form the basis of a large, well-powered clinical trial to test the effectiveness of TOWER in promoting CDCG-adherent opioid prescribing practices and improving outcomes for PWH with chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100468
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Chronic pain
  • HIV
  • Opioids


Dive into the research topics of 'Decreasing risk among HIV patients on opioid therapy for chronic pain: Development of the TOWER intervention for HIV care providers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this