Also Known As: Lamivudine, Epivir 3tc, Zeffix, Heptovir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV
It is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline with the brand names Zeffix, Heptovir, Epivir, and Epivir-HBV.
Lamivudine has been used for treatment of chronic hepatitis B at a lower dose than for treatment of HIV. It improves the seroconversion of e-antigen positive hepatitis B and also improves histology staging of the liver. Long term use of lamivudine unfortunately leads to emergence of a resistant hepatitis B virus (YMDD) mutant. Despite this, lamivudine is still used widely as it is well tolerated.
Lamivudine is an analogue of cytidine. It can inhibit both types (1 and 2) of HIV reverse transcriptase and also the reverse transcriptase of hepatitis B. It is phosphorylated to active metabolites that compete for incorporation into viral DNA. They inhibit the HIV reverse transcriptase enzyme competitively and act as a chain terminator of DNA synthesis. The lack of a 3'-OH group in the incorporated nucleoside analogue prevents the formation of the 5' to 3' phosphodiester linkage essential for DNA chain elongation, and therefore, the viral DNA growth is terminated.
Lamivudine is administered orally, and it is rapidly absorbed with a bio-availability of over 80%. Some research suggests that lamivudine can cross the blood–brain barrier. Lamivudine is often given in combination with zidovudine, with which it is highly synergistic. Lamivudine treatment has been shown to restore zidovudine sensitivity of previously resistant HIV. Lamivudine showed no evidence of carcinogenicity or mutagenicity in in vivo studies in mice and rats at doses from 10 to 58 times those used in humans.