The increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with type 2 diabetes is well documented. Lesser degrees of abnormal glucose metabolism including impaired fasting glycaemia and impaired glucose tolerance are also associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Studies showing improved cardiovascular outcomes with oral antidiabetic agents are limited, with the UKPDS demonstrating improved macrovascular outcomes only in a subgroup of obese patients with type 2 diabetes treated with metformin, and the heavily criticized STOP NIDDM trial showing a reduction in the number of cardiovascular events with the alpha glucosidase inhibitor acarbose. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of oral antidiabetic drugs available to treat the hyperglycaemia of diabetes. Some of these drugs have complex metabolic properties, additional to their antihyperglycaemic effect, improving endothelial function and markers of atherogenesis, with the potential to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, as supported by the recently published results of the PROACTIVE study. The results of further long-term cardiovascular outcome studies with these newer agents are awaited.