Snake venoms are mixtures of toxins that vary extensively between and within snake species. This variability has serious consequences for the management of the world’s 1.8 million annual snakebite victims. Advances in ‘omic’ technologies have empowered toxinologists to comprehensively characterize snake venom compositions, unravel the molecular mechanisms that underpin venom variation, and elucidate the ensuing functional consequences. In this review, we describe how such mechanistic processes have resulted in suites of toxin isoforms that cause diverse pathologies in human snakebite victims and we detail how variation in venom composition can result in treatment failure. Finally, we outline current therapeutic approaches designed to circumvent venom variation and deliver next-generation treatments for the world’s most lethal neglected tropical disease.