OBJECTIVE: To identify numbers of participants in the UK Primary Sjögren's Syndrome Registry (UKPSSR) who would fulfil eligibility criteria for previous/current or potential clinical trials in primary SS (pSS) in order to optimize recruitment. METHODS: We did a retrospective analysis of UKPSSR cohort data of 688 participants who had pSS with evaluable data. RESULTS: In relation to previous/current trials, 75.2% fulfilled eligibility for the Belimumab in Subjects with Primary Sjögren's Syndrome study (Belimumab), 41.4% fulfilled eligibility for the Trial of Remicade in primary Sjögren's syndrome study (Infliximab), 35.4% for the Efficacy of Tocilizumab in Primary Sjögren's Syndrome study (Tocilizumab), 31.6% for the Tolerance and Efficacy of Rituximab in Sjögren's Disease study (Rituximab), 26.9% for the Trial of anti-B-cell therapy in pSS study (Rituximab) and 26.6% for the Efficacy and Safety of Abatacept in Patients With Primary Sjögren's Syndrome study (Abatacept). If recent measures of outcome, such as the EULAR Sjögren's Syndrome Patient Reported Index (ESSPRI) score ⩾5 (measure of patient symptoms) and the EULAR Sjögren's Syndrome Disease Activity Index (ESSDAI) score ⩾5 (measure of systemic disease activity) are incorporated into a study design, with requirements for an unstimulated salivary flow >0 and anti-Ro positivity, then the pool of eligible participants is reduced to 14.3%. CONCLUSION: The UKPSSR identified a number of options for trial design, including selection on ESSDAI ⩾5, ESSPRI ⩾5 and serological and other parameters.