Optimising Antibiotic Usage to Treat Bacterial Infections


Paterson IK, Hoyle A, Ochoa G, Baker-Austin C & Taylor NGH (2016) Optimising Antibiotic Usage to Treat Bacterial Infections. Scientific Reports, 6, Art. No.: 37853.

The increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria poses a threat to the continued use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics has been identified as a significant driver in the emergence of resistance. Finding optimal treatment regimens is therefore critical in ensuring the prolonged effectiveness of these antibiotics. This study uses mathematical modelling to analyse the effect traditional treatment regimens have on the dynamics of a bacterial infection. Using a novel approach, a genetic algorithm, the study then identifies improved treatment regimens. Using a single antibiotic the genetic algorithm identifies regimens which minimise the amount of antibiotic used while maximising bacterial eradication. Although exact treatments are highly dependent on parameter values and initial bacterial load, a significant common trend is identified throughout the results. A treatment regimen consisting of a high initial dose followed by an extended tapering of doses is found to optimise the use of antibiotics. This consistently improves the success of eradicating infections, uses less antibiotic than traditional regimens and reduces the time to eradication. The use of genetic algorithms to optimise treatment regimens enables an extensive search of possible regimens, with previous regimens directing the search into regions of better performance.

Applied mathematics; Computational models

Scientific Reports: Volume 6

Publication date30/11/2016
Publication date online28/11/2016
Date accepted by journal02/11/2016
PublisherSpringer Nature