To ensure the optimal performance of oral controlled release formulations, drug colon permeability is one of the critical parameters. Consequently developing this kind of formulations for low permeability molecules requires strategies to increase their ability to cross the colonic membrane. The objective of this work is to show if an ion-pair formation can improve the colon permeability of atenolol as a low permeability drug model. Two counter ions have been tested: brilliant blue and bromophenol blue. The Distribution coefficients at pH 7.00 (DpH7) of atenolol, atenolol + brilliant blue and atenolol + bromophenol blue were experimentally determined in n-octanol. Moreover, the colonic permeability was determined in rat colon using in situ closed loop perfusion method based in Doluisio's Technique. To check the potential effects of the counter ions on the membrane integrity, a histological assessment of colonic tissue was done. The results of the partitioning studies were inconclusive about ion-pair formation; nevertheless colon permeability was significantly increased by both counter ions (from 0.232 ± 0.021 cm/s to 0.508 ± 0.038 cm/s in the presence of brilliant blue and to 0.405 ± 0.044 cm/s in the presence of bromophenol blue). Neither damage on the membrane was observed on the histological studies, nor any change on paracellular permeability suggesting that the permeability enhancement could be attributed to the ion-pair formation.