In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), goals for blood glucose and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and body weight, can be difficult to achieve. Recent clinical trials indicate that incretin-based therapies—dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists—help to achieve glycaemic goals and are generally well tolerated, with a low prevalence of hypoglycaemia. GLP-1 agonists also improve weight, blood pressure and markers of β-cell function. Addition of an incretin-based agent may be appropriate for selected patients with T2DM and unsatisfactory glycaemic control on conventional therapies. Copyright ©2009 John Wiley & Sons.