The drilling of petroleum wells requires the use of suitable drilling fluids to ensure efficient operation without causing rock damage. Specific polymers have been used to control infiltration during drilling, to reduce operational problems. In this study, spherical microparticles of poly(methyl methacrylate-co-vinyl acetate) were synthesized (by suspension polymerization), characterized, and evaluated in terms of their performance in controlling filtrate loss of aqueous fluids. A filter press test with ceramic disk, simulating the rock, was used. The performance of the synthesized materials was compared with commercial polymers. It was observed that the performance of the material is directly associated with the relation between particle size and pore size of the rock specimen. Furthermore, for a suitable particle size, the rubbery characteristic of the material produces a more efficient filter cake, for filtrate control. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40646.