Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), caused by the abnormal recognition of human joint cells by autoimmune antibodies, remains the world's most prevalent autoimmune disease, with over five million people affected and as much as 4% of the population at risk of RA. To prevent rapid disease development, hormonal and anti-inflammatory therapies require fast and reliable RA diagnosis. However, difficulty in detecting early specific biomarkers for RA means that it is unclear when treatment needs to begin. Here, we combined synthesis of citrullinated peptide epitopes with molecular diagnostics to verify a new specific biomarker for early RA diagnosis and flare prediction. A fibrinogen-derived 21-amino-acid-long citrullinated peptide showed high reactivity toward autoantibodies in RA samples. Additionally, the level of antibodies to this epitope was elevated prior to flares. In contrast, other citrullinated protein variants had lower reactivity and poorer sensitivity to disease activity. In conclusion, fibrinogen-derived epitope E2 subjected to citrullination facilitated a reliable RA diagnosis with a strong correlation to disease activity. This is of a high value for the diagnosis and management of RA patients who respond poorly to treatment.