Tuesday, June 16, 2009 momof2, Community Member, asks

Q: Can hives be a symptom of RA?

I was diagnosed with RA when I turned 19 (I am now 31) and I think my sister, who will be 24 next month, might have it, too. Three weeks ago, she began showing all the classic signs fo RA, as well as hives.

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Answers (2)
andrew, Community Member
6/16/09 2:58pm

According to my rheumatologist and other material I've read, chronic hives can be a symptom of RA and other autoimmune disorders. It was one of the first symptoms I experienced along with some other classic signs.

momof2, Community Member
6/16/09 3:19pm

Thanks for responding, Andrew! The hives were the only symptom that didn't seem to fit with RA. I never had hives so I wasn't sure if they could be a symptom or not. Unfortunately, it's looking more and more like my sister has RA.

andrew, Community Member
6/16/09 6:49pm

Anecdotally, I've noticed that since taking Enbrel, my hives symptoms have almost disappeared. That's a strong case for the connection. I also found this (along with other references) relating hives (called chronic urticaria) and RA. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/762917-overview


Chronic urticaria can be related to all of the above as well as to the following:

  • Autoimmune disorders (SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, thyroid autoimmunity, and other connective tissue diseases); probably up to 50% of chronic urticaria is autoimmune.

There is also a genetic/family connection with autoimmune diseases. I do hope that your sister doesn't have RA. If she does, I hope she gets diagnosed and treated quickly because that can make a huge difference in the long term.




Peter, Community Member
10/13/10 2:41pm

Andrew, just food for thought. My Dad had RA and after gold and methotrexate treatments lost it's effectiveness, he was put on Enbrel. After a few years on Enbrel, his WBC started to increase, they thought it might be leukemia but were not positive. So they switched him Humira, another TNF Inhibitor. Long story short, he ended up eventually in a full blown acute leukemia crisis. His platelets were out of wack, his WBC was out of wack and the diagnosis was AML. He went to MD Anderson for aggressive treatment and eventually passed away during treatment. I am absolutely convinced Enbrel and Humira caused his leukemia. Both these drugs are TNF inhibitors and TNF is actually a cancer preventer scientists believe. They are actually doing studies that use TNF to fight certain cancers. It only stands to reason that if you inhibit TNF as does Enbrel , Humira and Remicade, you are increasing the chance for the patient to get cancer. If we had known better, we would have just managed the pain with somethnig else and forget about being a guinea pig to these drug companies that push this crap on us. I wish you health, but please talk to your doctor about the risks of these drugs and see if there are any alternatives. If I ever get RA, I can say without a doubt I will never ever take a TNF Inhibitor such as Enbrel or Humira. The benefits do not outweigh the risks.




Stacey93, Community Member
6/29/09 5:34pm

Hives are frequently a symptom/sign of Sjogren's. I have chronic hives that cannot always be tied to an allergic reaction and my rheumatologist believes they are caused by Sjogren's.

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By momof2, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/24/10, First Published: 06/16/09