Lamivudine is a synthetic nucleoside analogue and is phosphorylated intracellularly to its active 5'-triphosphate metabolite, lamivudine triphosphate (L-TP). This nucleoside analogue is incorporated into viral DNA by HIV reverse transcriptase and HBV polymerase, resulting in DNA chain termination.
Lamivudine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) with activity against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis B (HBV). Lamivudine 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.
The only detected metabolite of lamivudine is trans-sulfoxide.