European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 231–237 | Cite as

The effects of problem-based learning integration in a course on rational drug use: a comparative study between two Croatian medical schools

  • Robert Likic
  • Dinko Vitezic
  • Simon Maxwell
  • Ozren Polasek
  • Igor Francetic
Special Article



Young doctors write prescriptions regularly from their first day of practice. We investigated final-semester students’ perceptions of their training in relation to prescribing in two Croatian medical schools with different clinical pharmacology (CPT) teaching styles (Zagreb: problem-based and Rijeka: lecture-based course).


A total of 315 students (220 in Zagreb, 95 in Rijeka) underwent a 4-week-long course in CPT in the academic year 2006/2007. We compared the impact of different educational methods on student performance using an MCQ assessment. After the training, students completed a paper questionnaire on prescribing skills and knowledge of pharmacotherapy.


Students in Rijeka were significantly more satisfied with their traditional lecture-based course. Only 56% of Zagreb students and 54% of students from Rijeka felt confident about their prescription-writing skills. Only 8% of Zagreb and none of Rijeka students had written more than six prescriptions during their entire medical curriculum. There was no difference in the participants’ levels of factual knowledge of rational pharmacotherapy.


The style of learning about medicines did not affect students’ factual knowledge. Only half of the student cohort felt confident about their ability to prescribe medicines, and few had practiced this skill during their medical training.


Clinical pharmacology Problem-based learning Teaching Rational drug use 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Likic
    • 1
  • Dinko Vitezic
    • 2
  • Simon Maxwell
    • 3
  • Ozren Polasek
    • 4
  • Igor Francetic
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Unit of Clinical PharmacologyUniversity of Zagreb School of Medicine, University Hospital RebroZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Rijeka School of MedicineRijekaCroatia
  3. 3.Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Royal Infirmary of EdinburghUniversity of Edinburgh College of MedicineEdinburghUK
  4. 4.Department of Medical Statistics, Epidemiology and Medical InformaticsUniversity of Zagreb School of Medicine, School of Public Health Andrija StamparZagrebCroatia

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