Plain Language Summary Blood glucose progressively increases over time in type 2 diabetes and is currently treated in a stepwise fashion, with more medications added when a single treatment fails. The VERIFY trial studied people with newly or recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Treating people early with two glucose-lowering drugs given together could slow the worsening of blood glucose levels, compared with starting with metformin first and then adding a second treatment later. Taking the two treatments together was as well tolerated as taking the single treatment alone. Starting treatment with two glucose-lowering drugs given together lengthened the time before insulin was needed, compared with starting with metformin and then adding a second treatment later. This is important to people with diabetes, as early treatment is straightforward but becomes increasingly complicated in later stages. The long-term benefits of this early combination treatment are awaited. In the meantime, the VERIFY trial has shown that combination therapy given at the start of treatment with medication can improve blood glucose levels and delay the need for insulin.The treatment aims for type 2 diabetes are to prevent complications and premature mortality, and improve quality of life. Glycaemic control is central to these aims; clinical guidelines have sought to achieve this with a stepwise approach starting with lifestyle measures and metformin, adding further medications once glycated haemoglobin (HbA(1c)) levels rise above a predefined threshold. However, treatment intensification can be delayed when HbA(1c)levels increase, and HbA(1c)levels become inadequately controlled in many patients. Clinical inertia can result in sustained elevated levels of HbA(1c); when combined with a late diagnosis, this negatively impacts patients' prognosis. Early combination therapy using medications with complementary modes of action could achieve optimal glycaemic targets and alter the course of the disease more than metformin alone. The multinational VERIFY study (clinicaltrials.gov NCT01528254) provided evidence accrued over 5 years, demonstrating the potential of early combination therapy: time to loss of glycaemic control was nearly doubled, and more than twice the number of patients experienced extended glycaemic control, with a vildagliptin-metformin combination therapy versus metformin alone. The study also showed a delay in secondary treatment failure in patients receiving the combination. Early combination therapy therefore offers a different trajectory to the stepwise approach. Translating these findings into clinical practice will require early detection and diagnosis of type 2 diabetes plus a shift in disease management. Nonetheless, the potential benefits of sustained and continuous disease control that early combination therapy offers represent the start of a new era in early diagnosis and intensive management, to achieve the treatment aims of type 2 diabetes.