DPP-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i) and sulphonylureas remain the most widely prescribed add-on treatments after metformin. However, there is limited evidence from clinical practice comparing major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients prescribed these treatments, particularly among those without prior history of MACE and from vulnerable population groups. Using electronic health records from UK primary care, we undertook a retrospective cohort study with people diagnosed type-2 diabetes mellitus, comparing incidence of MACE (myocardial infarction, stroke, major cardiovascular surgery, unstable angina) and all-cause mortality among those prescribed DPP-4i versus sulphonylureas as add-on to metformin. We stratified analysis by history of MACE, age, social deprivation and comorbidities and adjusted for HbA1c, weight, smoking-status, comorbidities and medications. We identified 17,570 patients prescribed sulphonylureas and 6,267 prescribed DPP-4i between 2008–2017. Of these, 16.3% had pre-existing MACE. Primary incidence of MACE was similar in patients prescribed DPP-4i and sulphonylureas (10.3 vs 8.5 events per 1000 person-years; adjusted Hazard Ratio (adjHR): 0.94; 95%CI 0.80–1.14). For those with pre-existing MACE, rates for recurrence were higher overall, but similar between the two groups (21.8 vs 17.2 events per 1000 person-years; adjHR: 0.93; 95%CI 0.69–1.24). For those aged over 75 and with BMI less than 25 kg/m2 there was a protective effect for DPP-I, warranting further investigation. Patients initiating a DPP-4i had similar risk of cardiovascular outcomes to those initiating a sulphonylurea. This indicates the choice should be based on safety and cost, not cardiovascular prognosis, when deciding between a DPP-4i or sulphonylurea as add-on to metformin.