Exenatide once weekly (EQW), the first glucose-lowering agent for type 2 diabetes that is dosed one time per week, contains exenatide encapsulated in microspheres of a dissolvable matrix, which release active agent slowly and continuously into the circulation following subcutaneous injection. In two direct head-to-head comparisons, EQW resulted in better long-term glucose control, greater reductions in fasting plasma glucose, and more significant weight loss than sitagliptin. In other trials, glucose-lowering effects of EQW compared favorably with those of metformin, pioglitazone, and basal insulin. Patients on EQW exhibited a higher incidence of nausea than those on sitagliptin, although gastrointestinal adverse events occurred primarily during the first 6-8 weeks of therapy and declined thereafter. EQW was also associated with a lower incidence of nausea than two other glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, exenatide twice daily and liraglutide. Mild hypoglycemic episodes were uncommon with EQW, although risk of hypoglycemia increased in combination with sulfonylureas. When choosing between EQW and a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, such as sitagliptin, clinicians and patients should consider the differences between the two medications in terms of glucose control (EQW superior to DPP-4 inhibitors), weight control (EQW superior to DPP-4 inhibitors), gastrointestinal tolerability during treatment initiation (EQW inferior to DPP-4 inhibitors), and mode of administration (once-weekly subcutaneous administration versus once-daily oral administration).