RESEARCHERS at Southampton University have highlighted ways of reducing reliance on antibiotics.

They have concluded that delayed prescriptions or shorter courses of treatment could be a way of fighting antibiotic resistance.

Two studies, led by the University of Southampton which have been published in the British Journal of General Practice have looked at their findings.

The first study concluded that doctors could use antibiotic prescriptions for sore throats but tell patients not to take them straight away.

The second study shows that shorter courses of antibiotics for sore throats (a five-day course, instead of the ten-day course) could be just as effective and help reduce overconsumption of antibiotics.

Professor Michael Moore, who led both studies, said: “Antibiotic resistance is now considered a global health crisis and one of the contributors is over-prescription of the drugs. We need to adopt new approaches if we are going to reduce our overreliance on antibiotics. A ‘wait and see’ approach seems to have similar benefits to a prescription on symptoms approach; and we found that less people end up using them. A shorter course of antibiotics does not seem to have disadvantages and is another way of reducing exposure to antibiotics.”