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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 578382, 7 pages
Review Article

Problem-Based Learning in Pharmaceutical Education: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Brasilia, P.O. Box 4472, 70904-970 Brasilia, DF, Brazil
2Getulio Vargas University Hospital, Federal University of Amazonas, 69020-170 Manaus, AM, Brazil
3Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Amazonas, 69020-160 Manaus, AM, Brazil
4University Hospital of Brasilia, Pharmacy School, University of Brasilia, 70830-200 Brasilia, DF, Brazil
5Department of Logistics, Executive Secretary, Ministry of Health of Brazil, 70058-900 Brasilia, DF, Brazil

Received 26 August 2013; Accepted 5 January 2014; Published 19 February 2014

Academic Editors: A. Concheiro and M. Uner

Copyright © 2014 Tais F. Galvao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To assess the effects of problem-based learning (PBL) on the learning achievements of pharmacy students. Methods. We searched for controlled studies that compared PBL to traditional learning in pharmacy courses (graduate and undergraduate) in the major literature databases up to January 2014. Two independent researchers selected the studies, extracted the data, and assessed the quality of the studies. Meta-analyses of the outcomes were performed using a random effects model. Results. From 1,988 retrieved records, five were included in present review. The studies assessed students’ impressions about the PBL method and compared student grades on the midterm and final examinations. PBL students performed better on midterm examinations (odds ratio ; confidence interval [IC] 95%: 1.16, 1.89) and final examinations ( ; IC 95%: 1.06, 2.43) compared with students in the traditional learning groups. No difference was found between the groups in the subjective evaluations. Conclusion. pharmacy students’ knowledge was improved by the PBL method. Pharmaceutical education courses should consider implementing PBL.