The effect of inhaled beclomethasone diproprionate (1500 micrograms day-1) on symptoms, pulmonary function and sputum production was examined in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study in 20 patients with bronchiectasis. An 18% reduction in daily sputum production (P less than 0.003) was observed on treatment with inhaled steroid compared to placebo. A small, significant, improvement in morning peak expiratory flow rate (P less than 0.03) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (P less than 0.03) was seen but the absolute changes are unlikely to be of clinical importance. Symptom scores for cough improved significantly (P less than 0.02). Inhaled steroids may have a role in the management of bronchiectasis by reducing cough and sputum production.