This review is focused on the pathophysiology and therapeutic potential of purinergic signalling. A wide range of diseases are considered, including those of the central nervous system, skin, kidney, musculoskeletal, liver gut, lower urinary tract, cardiovascular, airways and reproductive systems, the special senses, infection, diabetes and obesity. Several purinergic drugs are already on the market, including P2Y12 receptor antagonists for stroke and thrombosis, P2Y2 receptor agonists for dry eye, and A1 receptor agonists for supraventricular tachycardia. Clinical trials are underway for the use of P2X3 receptor antagonists for the treatment of chronic cough, visceral pain and hypertension, and many more compounds are being explored for the treatment of other diseases. Most experiments are ‘proof of concept’ studies on animal or cellular models, which hopefully will lead to further clinical trials. The review summarises the topic, mostly referring to recent review articles.