A surgical procedure was evaluated to allow bile collection from the freely moving male Sprague-Dawley rats for the assessment of drug biliary excretion during regulatory safety studies. A catheter was implanted into the bile duct to divert the bile flow via an exteriorized loop. Following recovery from the surgery and verification of normal hepatic function, the exteriorized catheter was sectioned to allow collection of the bile and replacement with a commercial bile salt solution. Approximately 80% of the catheterized animals (10 females and 10 males) had normal serum liver enzyme levels 2 days after surgery. Then, the effect of acute or repeated administrations of the immunosuppressant tacrolimus on the biliary excretion of 14C diazepam was studied to validate the technique. A first group of 12 rats received an intravenous injection of 10 mg/kg 14C-diazepam and the total and sequential amounts of diazepam excreted in the bile were measured over 72 h. Biliary excretion accounted for 80% of diazepam elimination. These rats were then given an oral administration of 3 mg/kg tacrolimus on days 7 and 8 followed by the same intravenous dose of 14C-diazepam. Another group of 10 catheterized rats was given 21 daily oral doses of 3 mg/kg tacrolimus followed by a single intravenous administration of 14C-diazepam. No significant changes in diazepam biliary excretion were observed following either acute or repeated administration of tacrolimus. This study demonstrates the feasibility of drug biliary excretion investigations under Good Laboratory Practices conditions as a complement to regulatory acute or repeated dose safety studies.