Lupus can cause hives, but this is uncommon. The exact cause of hives in lupus isn't clear. But it may be due to certain antibodies produced by some people with lupus. Sun exposure also may play a role. In addition, some of the medications used to treat lupus may cause side effects that include hives.
Individual hives usually last less than 24 hours. Individual hives that last longer than 24 hours may be due to urticarial vasculitis, a condition characterized by inflammation of the small blood vessels in the skin. Lupus is one cause of urticarial vasculitis.
Signs and symptoms of urticarial vasculitis include an itching and burning sensation in the affected skin. Unlike hives, wheals caused by urticarial vasculitis may leave behind a bruise. A doctor may confirm a diagnosis of urticarial vasculitis by a biopsy of the affected skin.
Treatment of hives may include:
- H-2 blockers (cimetidine)
Treatment of urticarial vasculitis also may include antihistamines, H-2 blockers and corticosteroids, but used for a longer time than with simple hives. Aggravating factors, such as sun exposure, also may need to be controlled.
Sept. 15, 2020
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing!
You'll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- Firestein GS, et al. Clinical features of systemic lupus erythematosus. In: Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 14, 2015.
- Brewer JD, et al. Urticarial vasculitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 14, 2015.
- Schur PH, et al. Mucocutaneous manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 14, 2015.
- Handout on health: Systemic lupus erythematosus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Lupus/. Accessed July 14, 2015.
- Bingham CO. New-onset urticaria. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 14, 2015.
- What medications are used to treat lupus? Lupus Foundation of America. http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/medications-to-treat-lupus#. Accessed July 14, 2015.