INTRODUCTION: Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) can be either primary (idiopathic) or secondary to a number of different diseases/conditions, when vasopasm can be superimposed upon structural vascular abnormality or a hyperviscosity state and may then lead to severe ischaemia with tissue damage. Treatment must be tailored to the individual. Areas covered: This review discusses how increased understanding of the pathogenesis of RP has driven and is driving new approaches to therapy, and how we are now better able to predict which patients presenting with RP are likely to have an underlying disease requiring specific intervention. Medline searches (1946 to August 2016) were conducted for 'Raynaud's' in combination with relevant terms including different drugs. All papers identified were English language, with abstracts. Expert commentary: Randomised controlled trials of RP present particular challenges. The major aim must continue to be development of safe, effective treatments for patients across the spectrum of RP.