The aim of the present study was to measure airway, oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal deposition of (99m)Tc-labelled hydrofluoroalkane-beclomethasone dipropionate after inhalation via a pressurised metered-dose inhaler and spacer (Aerochamber Plus) in asthmatic children. A group of 24 children (aged 5-17 yrs) with mild asthma inhaled the labelled drug. A total of 12 children took five tidal breaths after each actuation (tidal group). The other 12 children used a slow maximal inhalation followed by a 5 - 10-s breath-hold (breath-hold group). Simultaneous anterior and posterior planar gamma-scintigraphic scans (120-s acquisition) were recorded. For the tidal group, mean+/-sd lung deposition (% ex-actuator, attenuation corrected) was 35.4+/-18.3, 47.5+/-13.0 and 54.9+/-11.2 in patients aged 5-7 (n = 4), 8-10 (n = 4) and 11-17 yrs (n = 4), respectively. Oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal deposition was 24.0+/-10.5, 10.3+/-4.4 and 10.1+/-6.2. With the breath-hold technique, lung deposition was 58.1+/-6.7, 56.6+/-5.2 and 58.4+/-9.2. Oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal deposition was 12.9+/-3.2, 20.1+/-9.5 and 20.8+/-8.8. Inhalation of the extrafine formulation with the breath-hold technique showed significantly improved lung deposition compared with tidal breathing across all ages. Oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal deposition was markedly decreased, regardless of which inhalation technique was applied, compared with a previous paediatric study using the same formulation delivered via a breath-actuated metered-dose inhaler.