The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are a new class of injected drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They mimic the action of GLP-1 and increase the incretin effect in patients with type 2 diabetes, stimulating the release of insulin. They have additional effects in reducing glucagon, slowing gastric emptying, and inducing satiety. In clinical practice they are associated with significant reductions in glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), weight loss and a low risk of hypoglycaemia. Beneficial effects have also been observed on blood pressure and lipids. The possibility of cardiovascular benefit is now being formally examined in large randomised-controlled trials with primary cardiovascular end points.