The background of the study. Most patients with chronic urticaria (hives) are not allergic to any identifiable substance, and the urticaria is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. The relationship between chronic urticaria and autoimmune thyroid disease was evaluated in this study.
How the study was done. There were four study groups. One consisted of 45 patients with chronic urticaria (defined as three or more episodes of urticaria weekly for at least six weeks) seen in a dermatology clinic. The second group consisted of 32 patients with goiter, thyroid nodules, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism who had a high serum concentration of antithyroid antibodies. The third group consisted of 22 patients with similar thyroid disorders, but normal serum concentrations of the antibodies. The fourth group consisted of 30 normal subjects.
The results of the study. The 45 patients with chronic urticaria had three or more episodes of urticaria per week for 3 months to 15 years; they had been treated with an antihistamine or glucocorticoid. All had normal thyroid function, but 12 (27 percent) had a high serum concentration of antithyroid peroxidase or antithyroglobulin antibodies; four were considered to have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, three had thyroid nodules, and five had no thyroid disorder. Six patients in the two thyroid-disorder groups had a history of urticaria, and four of them had urticaria during the one-year follow-up period. None of the normal subjects had a history of urticaria.
The conclusions of the study. Patients with chronic urticaria are more likely to have high serum concentrations of antithyroid antibodies than normal subjects.
The original article. Verneuil L, Leconte C, Ballet JJ, Coffin C, Laroche D, Izard JP, Reznik Y, Leroy D. Association between chronic urticaria and thyroid autoimmunity: a prospective study involving 99 patients. Dermatology 2004;208:98-103.