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Latex allergy: Management

Robert G Hamilton, PhD, DABMLI, FAAAAI
Section Editor
Bruce S Bochner, MD
Deputy Editor
Elizabeth TePas, MD, MS


Natural rubber latex (NRL) allergy is caused by sensitization to proteins in the sap-like fluid (latex) from the commercial rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis (Hev b). Most patients are sensitized through exposure to latex gloves or other latex products (eg, dental dams, condoms, and balloons) in a medical or occupational setting.

The mainstay of management of latex allergy is avoidance of latex products. Several other therapeutic approaches have been under investigation, including immunotherapy (IT) and anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy, but these have not shown promise.

The management of latex allergy, including avoidance measures and experimental therapies that have been attempted, will be reviewed here. An overview of latex processing and latex allergens and review of the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of latex allergy are discussed separately. (See "Latex allergy: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis".)


Latex allergy can involve delayed or immediate-type reactions. Individuals with delayed hypersensitivity, manifested as a contact dermatitis, are at increased risk for developing immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated reactions. Thus, all individuals with latex sensitivity, as documented by a positive Hevea latex-specific IgE antibody response, should be managed similarly.

There are four possible strategies for preventing or managing allergic symptoms once an individual is diagnosed with latex allergy:

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 29, 2017.
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