Although advances have been achieved in the management of type 2 diabetes, current treatment options for patients with this disease still fail to address disease progression, glycaemic control remains suboptimal and therapies are often associated with weight gain and hypoglycaemia. Thus, new antidiabetes therapies are being sought. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are incretin hormones that have been the recent focus of research. The physiological action of GLP-1, in particular, has demonstrated its potential in addressing the therapeutic needs of patients with type 2 diabetes. To exploit this action, liraglutide, a human GLP-1 analogue that shares 97% of its amino acid sequence identity with native GLP-1, has been developed. In a recent phase 3 trial programme (LEAD, Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes), treatment with liraglutide was associated with substantial improvements in glycaemic control and low risk of hypoglycaemia. In addition, reductions in weight and systolic blood pressure were reported. There is also an indication that liraglutide is capable of improving β-cell function and increasing β-cell mass. Thus, liraglutide may overcome the limitations with current therapies and help to address the unmet clinical needs of patients with type 2 diabetes.