Aims To describe the total cardiovascular burden (cardiovascular morbidity or mortality, revascularization or non-traumatic amputation) in individuals with screen-detected diabetes in the ADDITION-Europe trial and to quantify the impact of the intervention on multiple cardiovascular events over 5years. Methods In a pragmatic, cluster-randomized, parallel-group trial in four centres (Denmark; Cambridge, UK; the Netherlands; and Leicester, UK), 343 general practices were randomized to screening plus routine care (n=1379 patients), or screening and promotion of target-driven, intensive treatment of multiple risk factors (n=1678). We estimated the effect of the intervention on multiple cardiovascular events after diagnosis of diabetes using the Wei, Lin and Weissfeld method. Results Over 5.3years, 167 individuals had exactly one cardiovascular event, 53 exactly two events, and 18 three or more events. The incidence rates (95%CI) of first events and any event per 1000 person-years were 14.6 (12.8-16.6) and 20.4 (18.2-22.6), respectively. There were non-significant reductions in the risk of a first (hazard ratio 0.83, 95%CI 0.65-1.05) and second primary endpoint (hazard ratio 0.70, 95%CI 0.43-1.12). The overall average hazard ratio for any event was 0.77 (95%CI 0.58-1.02). Conclusions Early intensive multifactorial treatment was not associated with a significant reduction in total cardiovascular burden at 5years. Focusing on first events in cardiovascular disease prevention trials underestimates the total cardiovascular burden to patients and the health service.