Anticholinergic agents are useful bronchodilators, the use of which should not be overlooked in patients with airways diseases. In patients with stable asthma, they are not first-line therapy but may be valuable as adjunctive therapy. In status asthmaticus they add to the bronchodilatation achieved by adrenergic therapy. Their principal role is in the maintenance therapy of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The newer synthetic forms, such as ipratropium bromide, are free of atropine-like side effects and have a wide therapeutic margin.