Objectives. To study the efficacy and safety of dutasteride, a dual inhibitor of the 5-alpha-reductase isoenzymes types I and II. Methods. A total of 4325 men (2951 completed) with clinical benign prostatic hyperplasia, moderate to severe symptoms (American Urological Association-Symptom Index score of 12 points or greater), a peak flow rate of 15 mL/s or less, a prostate volume of 30 cm3 or greater (as measured by transrectal ultrasonography), and a serum prostate-specific antigen level of 1.5 to 10.0 ng/mL (inclusive) were enrolled into three identical clinical trials and randomized to 0.5 mg dutasteride daily or placebo. After a 1-month, single-blind, placebo lead-in, patients were followed up for 24 months in a double-blind trial with multiple interval assessments. Results. At 24 months, serum dihydrotestosterone was reduced from baseline by a mean of 90.2% (median -93.7%; P <0.001), and the total prostate and transition zone volumes were reduced by a mean of 25.7% and 20.4%, respectively (P <0.001). The symptom score was improved by as early as 3 months, with pooled significance from 6 months onward (P <0.001) and a reduction of 4.5 points (21.4%) at 24 months (P <0.001). The maximal flow rate improved significantly from 1 month (P <0.01), with an increase of 2.2 mL/s reported at 24 months (P <0.001). Hence, the risk reduction of acute urinary retention was 57% and the risk reduction of benign prostatic hyperplasia-related surgical intervention was 48% compared with placebo. The drug was well tolerated. Conclusions. Dutasteride is a potent inhibitor of dihydrotestosterone production that is safe and effective in terms of the reduction of prostate volume and symptoms, flow rate improvement, and the reduction of the risk of acute urinary retention and surgery during a 24-month study period.