A simple high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method was developed for the analysis of atorvastatin (AT) and its impurities in bulk drug and tablets. This method has shown good resolution for AT, desfluoro-atorvastatin (DFAT), diastereomer-atorvastatin (DSAT), unknown impurities and formulation excipients of tablets. A gradient reverse-phase HPLC assay was used with UV detection. Some solvent systems prepared using methanol or acetonitrile and water or buffer systems with different pH values were tested. Capacity factors of related substances were calculated at all tested systems. Best resolution has been determined using a Luna C-18 column with acetonitrile-ammonium acetate buffer pH 4-tetrahydrofuran (THF) as mobile phase. Samples were eluted gradiently with the mobile phase at flow rate 1.0 ml min(-1) and detected at 248 nm. The proposed method was applied to the determination of impurities and were found to contain 0.057-0.081, 0.072-0.097, 0.608-0.664% of the DFAT, DSAT and total impurity, respectively. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.