The treatment of primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is based principally on the management of sicca features and systemic manifestations. Sicca manifestations are treated symptomatically through administration of topical therapies, such as saliva substitutes and artificial tears; in patients with residual salivary gland function, stimulation of salivary flow with a sialogogue is the therapy of choice. The management of extraglandular features must be tailored to the specific organ or organs involved; however, limited data have been obtained from controlled trials in SS to guide the treatment of systemic symptoms using therapies including antimalarials, glucocorticoids, immunosuppressive drugs and biologic agents. Nevertheless, randomised controlled trials of biologic agents that target molecules and receptors involved in the aetiopathogenesis of primary SS have initiated a new era in the therapeutic management of the disease, although the potential risks and benefits of these agents must be carefully considered. In this Review, we analyse the evidence regarding the efficacy of the therapeutic agents currently available to treat the manifestations of SS. On the basis of this evidence, we provide guidance on the use of these agents in different clinical scenarios.