Abstract There is a growing need to optimize the use of old and new antibiotics to treat serious as well as less serious infections. The topic of how to use pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) knowledge to conserve antibiotics for the future was elaborated on in a workshop of the conference (The conference “The Global Need for Effective Antibiotics – moving towards concerted action”, ReAct, Uppsala, Sweden, 2010). The optimization of dosing regimens is accomplished by choosing the dose and schedule that results in the antimicrobial exposure that will achieve the microbiological and clinical outcome desired while simultaneously suppressing emergence of resistance. PK/PD of antimicrobial agents describe how the therapeutic drug effect is dependent on the potency of a drug against a microorganism and the exposure (the concentration of antimicrobial available for effect over time). The description and modeling of these relationships quantitatively then allow for a rational approach to dose optimization and several strategies to that purpose are described. These strategies include not only the dosing regimen itself but also the duration of therapy, preventing collateral damage through inappropriate use and the application of PK/PD in drug development. Furthermore, PK/PD relationships of older antibiotics need to be urgently established. The need for global harmonization of breakpoints is also suggested and would add efficacy to antibiotic therapy. For each of the strategies, a number of priority actions are provided.