Objective. To describe the management of dyslipidaemia in patients with high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and patients with a history of CVD identified by screening for diabetes in general practice in Denmark, concentrating on prescription of lipid-lowering drugs. Moreover, to analyse predicting factors for starting lipid-lowering drugs related to patient and general practice characteristics. Design. Population-based cross-sectional study with follow-up. Setting. A total of 139 general practices from three of five Danish regions, totalling 216 GPs. Subjects. The study population comprised 4986 patients with a high risk of CVD and dyslipidaemia and 764 patients with a history of CVD and dyslipidaemia out of a population of 16 572 patients who completed screening for diabetes but were cleared for diabetes in the ADDITION study. Results. Of patients with a high risk of CVD and dyslipidaemia not receiving lipid-lowering drugs at the time of screening (n 4823), 20% started lipid-lowering therapy within the follow-up period (median 2.1 years). This percentage was 45% (n 536) for patients with CVD and dyslipidaemia (median follow-up period 1.6 years). Age over 50, high cholesterol, impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance, minor polypharmacy, use of heart/circulation drugs, and cholesterol measurements after screening predicted the prescription of lipid-lowering drugs for patients at high risk of CVD. For patients with CVD, male gender, high cholesterol and use of heart/circulation drugs predicted the prescription of lipid-lowering drugs. No general practice characteristics were associated with different prescription habits. Conclusion. There is a gap between the recommended lipid-lowering drug therapy and current practice, with a substantial under-treatment and a considerable delay in the first prescription of lipid-lowering drugs.