AIMS: Repeated adenosine monophosphate (AMP) challenges are used to assess drug efficacy in clinical trials of mild, steroid-naive asthmatics. Refractoriness has been reported after repeated challenges over short intervals. This study evaluated possible tachyphylaxis after repeated AMP challenges at 12 and 24 h in mild, steroid-naive asthmatics. METHODS: This was an open, three-way crossover study. Twenty-six steroid-naive asthmatic subjects were randomized to the following AMP challenge regimens separated by 7-14 days: (A) challenge at 08.00 h, repeated 24 h later; (B) challenge at 08.00 h, repeated 12 and 24 h later; (C) challenge at 20.00 h, repeated 12 h later. Comparisons within day were assessed using 90% confidence intervals (CIs). Non-inferiority approach taken with 1 doubling concentration (DC) as a clinically relevant difference. RESULTS: Regimen A: Significant increase in AMP reactivity at 24 h. Mean DC difference was 0.6 (90% CI 0.24, 0.96). Regimen B: No evidence of difference between AMP reactivity at 08.00 h and a repeated challenge 12 h later. Repeated challenge at 24 h caused a significant increase in provocation concentration (PC)20 compared with 12 h (mean DC difference 0.48, 90% CI 0.02, 0.95) and 0 h (mean DC difference 0.82, 90% CI 0.49, 1.14 - the upper CI exceeds the criteria of 1 DC). Challenge regimen C: No difference between challenges; mean DC difference of 0.28 (90% CI -0.2, 0.76). CONCLUSION: The small decline in AMP reactivity during repeated challenges was not consistently observed, and was small compared with the known effects of inhaled drugs. © 2008 The Authors.