Rheumatic disorders developed after hepatitis B vaccination

Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Oct;38(10):978-83. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/38.10.978.


Objective: To obtain an overview of rheumatic disorders occurring after hepatitis B vaccination.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to rheumatology departments in nine French hospitals. Criteria for entry were rheumatic complaints of 1 week's duration or more, occurrence during the 2 months following hepatitis B vaccination, no previously diagnosed rheumatic disease and no other explanation for the complaints.

Results: Twenty-two patients were included. The observed disorders were as follows: rheumatoid arthritis for six patients; exacerbation of a previously non-diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus for two; post-vaccinal arthritis for five; polyarthralgia-myalgia for four; suspected or biopsy-proved vasculitis for three; miscellaneous for two.

Conclusions: Hepatitis B vaccine might be followed by various rheumatic conditions and might trigger the onset of underlying inflammatory or autoimmune rheumatic diseases. However, a causal relationship between hepatitis B vaccination and the observed rheumatic manifestations cannot be easily established. Further epidemiological studies are needed to establish whether hepatitis B vaccination is associated or not with an incidence of rheumatic disorders higher than normal.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthralgia / immunology
  • Arthritis, Reactive / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vasculitis / immunology*


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines