Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a progressive decline in glycaemic control. Many standard diabetes treatments, however, fail to achieve or maintain glycaemic control, and are often associated with an increased risk of hypoglycaemia and weight gain. Recently developed incretin-based therapies are a promising addition to the current armamentarium of diabetes treatments. Two types of incretin-based therapies are currently available: glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 receptor agonists (liraglutide and exenatide) and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (sitaglipin, vildagliptin and saxagliptin). This review aims to summarize the key efficacy and safety data of liraglutide, a once-daily human GLP-1 analogue. Extensive phase III clinical trials have shown liraglutide to improve glycaemic control with additional benefits on body weight, blood pressure and β-cell function. Liraglutide is also generally well tolerated with a low risk of hypoglycaemia. Liraglutide has recently been approved for marketing in Europe, Japan and the USA.