Latex superior to nonlatex condoms when it comes to preventing pregnancy

April 15, 2004

Nonlatex condoms break during intercourse or withdrawal two to five times more often than their latex counterparts, according to a recent analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials comparing three nonlatex and seven latex brands.

About 5% of all condoms sold in the US are made of nonlatex materials. Their advantages for those with latex allergy are obvious. Other advantages include that they can be used safely with oil-based lubricants and can withstand a broader range of storage conditions. Many users report that they have a less noticeable odor than latex varieties, that they have a less constricting fit, and that they are better at conducting body heat. In fact, substantial proportions of participants in the studies reviewed reported preferring nonlatex varieties.

Gallo MF, Grimes DA, Schulz KF. Nonlatex vs. latex male condoms for contraception: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Contraception. 2003;68:319-326.