Immunological studies claimed that atopic and non-atopic asthma share more similarities than differences. However, these two phenotypes of asthma are considered to be distinguishable upon distinct clinical patterns, which were not systematically assessed before in a large population. We studied characteristics discriminating atopic from non-atopic asthma among 751 asthmatic patients and 80 factors were analysed in univariate and multivariate analysis. Age, age of onset of asthma, female/male ratio were higher in non-atopic (n=200) than in atopic (n=551) asthmatics. Familial asthma, seasonal symptoms, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, allergen-triggered symptoms, improvement in altitude, exercise-induced asthma were associated with atopy. Non-atopic asthmatics displayed lower FEV(1) and FVC. Smoking was more frequent and asthma was more severe in these patients. Younger age, early onset, male sex, rhinitis and smoking were independent factors discriminating atopic from non-atopic asthma. This study establishes in a large population of asthmatics that although similarities exist between atopic and non-atopic asthma, two clinical phenotypes can still distinguish both kinds of asthma.