Chenodiol is a safe and effective agent for the medical dissolution of gallstones in selected patients; however, after dissolution and cessation of treatment, gallstones recur. This study was done to determine the recurrence rate after successful medical treatment and cessation of chenodiol therapy; compare the efficacy and safety of low-dose chenodiol, as compared to placebo, for prophylaxis against recurrence; and identify factors predictive of recurrence. In a randomized, double-blind fashion, 53 patients with gallstone dissolution received either chenodiol, 375 mg/d, or placebo, for at least 2 years. Standardized oral cholecystograms were done at 6 months, 1 year, and then yearly thereafter. Routine laboratory testing was done every 6 months. The cumulative rate of recurrence (life-table) was 27% in patients followed for up to 3.5 years. Chenodiol, 375 mg/d, was ineffective in preventing the recurrence of gallstones. No demographic, clinical, roentgenographic, or biochemical characteristics were predictive of recurrence.