Summary Background The frequencies of treatment for cardiovascular risk factors are poorly documented in large populations, particularly according to the presence or absence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Aims To assess frequencies of reimbursements for antihypertensive, lipid-lowering and antidiabetic medications in France among national health insurance beneficiaries in 2010 and their associations according to age, sex, French regions, level deprivation and the presence of certain CVD. Methods Treatment frequencies were calculated among the beneficiaries (58 million people) on the basis of reimbursements for three specific categories of medicinal products in 2010. The presence of CVD was defined by a diagnosis associated with chronic disease status and hospital stays in 2010. Results Among people aged greater or equal to 20years, treatment frequencies were 22% (men 20% vs. women 23%) for antihypertensives, 15% (14% vs. 16%) for lipid-lowering agents and 6% (6% vs. 5%) for antidiabetic medications. These frequencies were, respectively, 33%, 23% and 8% in patients aged greater or equal to 40years and 55%, 38% and 14% in patients aged greater or equal to 60 years. The frequency of at least one treatment for at least one of the three risk factors was 41% in patients aged greater or equal to 40 years and 66% in patients aged greater or equal to 60 years. Among patients aged greater or equal to 20 years, 22% were treated for at least one risk factor in the absence of CVD and 3% were treated for at least one risk factor in the presence of CVD. Regional differences were observed, with higher frequencies of antihypertensive and antidiabetic use in the North, North-East and Overseas regions. Treatment frequencies increased with level of deprivation, especially for antidiabetics. Conclusion This national study more clearly defines treatment frequencies and the populations and regions with the highest treatment frequencies.