Among adults with incident diabetes, data are lacking about first antihyperglycemic initiation and whether medication choice aligns with recommendations. To identify predictors of initiating any antihyperglycemic, and specifically sulfonylurea versus metformin. This retrospective cohort study included 241 327 patients from 11 US health systems, 2005 through 2010. Assessments included antihyperglycemic initiation within 6 months of diabetes identification, first medication initiated, and initiation predictors. Only 40.3% (n = 97 350) started any antihyperglycemic; 75.2% (n = 73 221) started metformin. Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) predicted initiating any antihyperglycemic (HbA1c >9%, relative risk [RR] = 3.94, 95% CI = 3.82, 4.07, vs HbA1c >6.5%-7%). Age modified the HbA1c effect: at higher HbA1c, likelihood of starting antihyperglycemics differed little across ages; at lower HbA1c, older patients were less likely to start antihyperglycemics (P < .001). Individuals with elevated serum creatinine (SCr) were more likely to started on sulfonylurea (SCr = 1.4-2, RR = 2.21 [2.05, 2.39]; SCr >2, RR = 2.75 [2.30, 3.29] vs normal SCr), particularly as HbA1c increased: patients with HbA1c 8%-9% and SCr >2 were 5.59 times (2.94, 10.65) more likely to start sulfonylurea versus those with HbA1c >6.5%-7% and normal SCr. Age predicted sulfonylurea initiation (20-39 years, RR = 0.87 [0.79, 0.95]; ? 80 years, RR = 2.41 [2.20, 2.65] vs 50-59 years). Among adults with incident diabetes, metformin was generally the first antihyperglycemic initiated. However, 59.7% did not start any antihyperglycemic at diabetes identification. HbA1c and age predict antihyperglycemic initiation; SCr and age predict sulfonylurea initiation.