The use of lipid-lowering drugs in diabetes is aimed primarily at reducing the large cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk burden experienced by this group of patients. Statin therapy has been shown to be highly efficacious in reducing CVD risk, both in those with and without prior CVD. Therefore, statins are the first-line lipid-lowering therapy in patients with diabetes. Patients with diabetes and established CVD should have low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC) lowered to at least 2.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) and, if possible, to 1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dL). Those without prior CVD should have LDLC lowered to 2.6 mmol/L. Triglycerides should be kept less than 1.7 mmol/L (150 mg/dL) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) above 1.15 mmol/L (40 mg/dL) in men and 1.2 mmol/L (46 mg/dL) in women. Additional therapy with fibrates or nicotinic acid may be needed to achieve these goals; the choice is determined by tolerance and side-effect profile. The use of nicotinic acid or fibrates on their own to achieve triglyceride or HDLC levels should be limited to those patients already at or near LDLC goals. Caution is warranted with combination therapy because muscle side effects, in particular, can increase. In type 1 diabetes, CVD risk is high but trial data are sparse. Where there is nephropathy, and where glycemic control is poor, there will often be a need for triglyceride and HDLC raising interventions as above. In the absence of these, lipid profile is often normal and focus should be on reducing CVD risk by statin therapy. If uncertainty about CVD risk status exists, consideration should be given to using CVD imaging modalities to inform intervention choice in younger patients.