Adherence to asthma practice guidelines is low. Improved compliance could potentially improve care of patients with asthma. The purpose of this study was to determine if patients managed in a general practice with an associated asthma clinic are more likely to use asthma medications according to clinical practice guidelines than patients managed in the general surgery of the practice. A cross-sectional study of adult asthmatics, aged 18-55 years, was conducted in six British general practices. Prescription data on all asthma medication was collected for a 6-month period. Information on asthma clinic attendance, age, sex, employment status, other medical illness, and how patients used their inhaled beta2-agonist was collected through questionnaire. The prescription data for asthma medication and patient use of inhaled beta2-agonist were compared to the British Thoracic Society's (BTS) Guidelines for Management of Asthma in Adults to determine if the patient's asthma medication regimen was appropriate. There was no significant association found between appropriate asthma medication and asthma clinic attendance or other patient characteristics. Adherence to the BTS guidelines was low. Fifty-eight percent of the asthma patients used asthma medication regimens that were not consistent with the BTS guidelines published 1 year earlier. Adherence to the BTS guidelines was low regardless of patient characteristics, including asthma clinic attendance, age, sex, employment status, other medical illness, or individual practice. These findings underscore the need to document the utility of clinical practice guidelines which may improve physician compliance.