The bioavailability of 2 atenolol tablet formulations (Angipress from Laboratórios Biosintética, and Atenol from Wellcome ICI Laboratory, Brazil) were compared in 18 healthy male volunteers who received a single 50 mg dose of each atenolol formulation. The study was conducted following an open randomized 2-period crossover design with a 14-day washout interval between doses. Plasma samples were obtained over a 24-hour interval and atenolol concentrations were determined by HPLC with fluorimetric detection. From the plasma atenolol concentration vs time curves the following pharmacokinetic parameters were obtained: AUC(zero-24) (area under the concentration vs time curves from 0-24 h), ke (terminal elimination constant), t1/2 (terminal first order elimination half-life), AUC (area under the concentration vs time curves extrapolated to infinity), Cmax (maximum achieved concentration), Tmax (time to achieve Cmax) and Cmax/AUC. All these variables were analyzed using both parametric and nonparametric statistics. Geometric mean Angipress/Atenol individual percent ratios were 99.6% for AUC(zero-24), 99.7% for AUC, 98.0% for Cmax, 102.8% for t1/2, 97.2% for ke and 97.8% for Cmax/AUC, with all their 90% confidence intervals within the bioequivalence range 80-125%, thus showing similar patterns of absorption and disposition. Arithmetic mean for individual Tmax differences was 0.8 h, and the 90% confidence interval did not include the zero value. Based on these results and in accordance with the European Union and the US Food and Drug Administration bioequivalence requirements we conclude that both atenolol formulations are bioequivalent for both the extent and the rate of absorption.