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Diabetes mellitus independently increases the risk of and mortality from heart failure in a manner that is well established but inadequately understood. Glycemic optimization does not eliminate this risk, and measures of glycemic control are insufficient markers of cardiovascular risk. In response to a regulatory guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration, glucose-lowering agents are now routinely evaluated in large cardiovascular outcome trials. These recent trial experiences of novel and established glucose-lowering therapies have shown variable risks and benefits with respect to heart failure. Cardiovascular outcome trials have increasingly included heart failure events as either a component of the primary end point or a secondary adjudicated end point. We comprehensively review each established and novel currently marketed glucose-lowering therapy, their biological targets, mechanisms of action, and relationships with heart failure. We then highlight gaps in available evidence and directions for future research regarding the ascertainment of heart failure-related data in the evaluation of emerging glucose-lowering therapies.