The aim of this study was to compare the bronchodilator response of patients with either stable asthma or stable chronic bronchitis to the acute administration of oxitropium bromide and a beta agonist (fenoterol) when given both separately and together in order to determine the responses of these two groups of patients and the optimal doses of these agents when given in combination. The responses of 23 patients with asthma and 25 patients with chronic bronchitis to 400 micrograms of fenoterol, and 200 micrograms of oxitropium given either alone or together with 100, 200 or 400 micrograms of fenoterol was studied. The peak bronchodilator response to oxitropium bromide of the patients with chronic bronchitis was equivalent to the fenoterol response while, in the patients with asthma, the response to oxitropium bromide was approximately 30% of the response to fenoterol. In both groups of subjects the addition of oxitropium bromide to fenoterol significantly increased both the magnitude and the duration of the bronchodilator response without a significant increase in side effects. In both groups of subjects 200 micrograms of oxitropium bromide and 200 micrograms or more of fenoterol gave the optimal response.