Optimizing antimicrobial use: challenges, advances and opportunities

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2021 Jun 22. doi: 10.1038/s41579-021-00578-9. Online ahead of print.


An optimal antimicrobial dose provides enough drug to achieve a clinical response while minimizing toxicity and development of drug resistance. There can be considerable variability in pharmacokinetics, for example, owing to comorbidities or other medications, which affects antimicrobial pharmacodynamics and, thus, treatment success. Although current approaches to antimicrobial dose optimization address fixed variability, better methods to monitor and rapidly adjust antimicrobial dosing are required to understand and react to residual variability that occurs within and between individuals. We review current challenges to the wider implementation of antimicrobial dose optimization and highlight novel solutions, including biosensor-based, real-time therapeutic drug monitoring and computer-controlled, closed-loop control systems. Precision antimicrobial dosing promises to improve patient outcome and is important for antimicrobial stewardship and the prevention of antimicrobial resistance.

Publication types

  • Review