BACKGROUND--Nebulised frusemide has been shown to be protective against bronchoconstricting stimuli in adult asthmatic subjects and against cold air challenge in children. Animal studies suggest that inhaled frusemide may be more effective in the young. METHODS--A double blind placebo, controlled, crossover study on the effect on exercise of pretreatment with frusemide (20 mg) from a metered dose inhaler via a large volume spacer (Volumatic) was performed in 12 asthmatic children. Exercise testing consisted of eight minutes of running on a treadmill in an environmentally controlled laboratory. RESULTS--Deterioration in lung function was less after frusemide than after the placebo exercise tests. The mean (95% CI) maximum percentage falls in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) were 14.4% (7.7 to 21.0) for placebo and 5.7% (2.3 to 9.0) for frusemide. CONCLUSIONS--Inhaled frusemide via a metered dose inhaler reduces exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in children.