Abacavir and Lamivudine (Page 6 of 8)

12.4 Microbiology

Mechanism of Action

Abacavir: Abacavir is a carbocyclic synthetic nucleoside analogue. Abacavir is converted by cellular enzymes to the active metabolite, carbovir triphosphate (CBV-TP), an analogue of deoxyguanosine-5′-triphosphate (dGTP). CBV-TP inhibits the activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) both by competing with the natural substrate dGTP and by its incorporation into viral DNA.

Lamivudine: Lamivudine is a synthetic nucleoside analogue. Intracellularly lamivudine is phosphorylated to its active 5′-triphosphate metabolite, lamivudine triphosphate (3TC-TP). The principal mode of action of 3TC-TP is inhibition of RT via DNA chain termination after incorporation of the nucleotide analogue.

Antiviral Activity

Abacavir: The antiviral activity of abacavir against HIV-1 was assessed in a number of cell lines including primary monocytes/macrophages and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). EC 50 values ranged from 3.7 to 5.8 microM (1 microM = 0.28 mcg per mL) and 0.07 to 1.0 microM against HIV-1 IIIB and HIV-1 BaL , respectively, and the mean EC 50 value was 0.26 ± 0.18 microM against 8 clinical isolates. The median EC 50 values of abacavir were 344 nM (range: 14.8 to 676 nM), 16.9 nM (range: 5.9 to 27.9 nM), 8.1 nM (range: 1.5 to 16.7 nM), 356 nM (range: 35.7 to 396 nM), 105 nM (range: 28.1 to 168 nM), 47.6 nM (range: 5.2 to 200 nM), 51.4 nM (range: 7.1 to 177 nM), and 282 nM (range: 22.4 to 598 nM) against HIV-1 clades A-G and group O viruses (n = 3 except n = 2 for clade B), respectively. The EC 50 values against HIV-2 isolates (n = 4) ranged from 0.024 to 0.49 microM.

Lamivudine: The antiviral activity of lamivudine against HIV-1 was assessed in a number of cell lines including monocytes and PBMCs using standard susceptibility assays. EC 50 values were in the range of 0.003 to 15 microM (1 microM = 0.23 mcg per mL). The median EC 50 values of lamivudine were 60 nM (range: 20 to 70 nM), 35 nM (range: 30 to 40 nM), 30 nM (range: 20 to 90 nM), 20 nM (range: 3 to 40 nM), 30 nM (range: 1 to 60 nM), 30 nM (range: 20 to 70 nM), 30 nM (range: 3 to 70 nM), and 30 nM (range: 20 to 90 nM) against HIV-1 clades A-G and group O viruses (n = 3 except n = 2 for clade B), respectively. The EC 50 values against HIV-2 isolates (n = 4) ranged from 0.003 to 0.120 microM in PBMCs. Ribavirin (50 microM) used in the treatment of chronic HCV infection decreased the anti-HIV-1 activity of lamivudine by 3.5-fold in MT-4 cells.

The combination of abacavir and lamivudine has demonstrated antiviral activity in cell culture against non-subtype B isolates and HIV-2 isolates with equivalent antiviral activity as for subtype B isolates. Neither abacavir, nor lamivudine, were antagonistic to all tested anti-HIV agents. See full prescribing information for ZIAGEN ® (abacavir) and EPIVIR ® (lamivudine). Ribavirin, used in the treatment of HCV infection, decreased the anti-HIV-1 potency of abacavir/lamivudine reproducibly by 2- to 6-fold in cell culture.


HIV-1 isolates with reduced susceptibility to the combination of abacavir and lamivudine have been selected in cell culture with amino acid substitutions K65R, L74V, Y115F, and M184V/I emerging in HIV-1 RT. M184V or I substitutions resulted in high-level resistance to lamivudine and an approximately 2-fold decrease in susceptibility to abacavir. Substitutions K65R, L74M, or Y115F with M184V or I conferred a 7- to 8-fold reduction in abacavir susceptibility, and combinations of three substitutions were required to confer more than an 8-fold reduction in susceptibility.


Cross-resistance has been observed among nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). The combination of abacavir/lamivudine has demonstrated decreased susceptibility to viruses with a K65R substitution with or without an M184V/I substitution, viruses with L74V plus the M184V/I substitution, and viruses with thymidine analog mutation substitutions (TAMs: M41L, D67N, K70R, L210W, T215Y/F, K219E/R/H/Q/N) plus M184V. An increasing number of TAMs is associated with a progressive reduction in abacavir susceptibility.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Abacavir: Abacavir was administered orally at 3 dosage levels to separate groups of mice and rats in 2-year carcinogenicity studies. Results showed an increase in the incidence of malignant and non-malignant tumors. Malignant tumors occurred in the preputial gland of males and the clitoral gland of females of both species, and in the liver of female rats. In addition, non-malignant tumors also occurred in the liver and thyroid gland of female rats. These observations were made at systemic exposures in the range of 6 to 32 times the human exposure at the recommended dose of 600 mg.

Lamivudine: Long-term carcinogenicity studies with lamivudine in mice and rats showed no evidence of carcinogenic potential at exposures up to 10 times (mice) and 58 times (rats) the human exposures at the recommended dose of 300 mg.


Abacavir: Abacavir induced chromosomal aberrations both in the presence and absence of metabolic activation in an in vitro cytogenetic study in human lymphocytes. Abacavir was mutagenic in the absence of metabolic activation, although it was not mutagenic in the presence of metabolic activation in an L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay. Abacavir was clastogenic in males and not clastogenic in females in an in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay. Abacavir was not mutagenic in bacterial mutagenicity assays in the presence and absence of metabolic activation.

Lamivudine: Lamivudine was mutagenic in an L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay and clastogenic in a cytogenetic assay using cultured human lymphocytes. Lamivudine was not mutagenic in a microbial mutagenicity assay, in an in vitro cell transformation assay, in a rat micronucleus test, in a rat bone marrow cytogenetic assay, and in an assay for unscheduled DNA synthesis in rat liver.

Impairment of Fertility

Abacavir: Abacavir did not affect male or female fertility in rats at a dose associated with exposures (AUC) approximately 3.3 times (male) or 4.1 times (female) those in humans at the clinically recommended dose.

Lamivudine: Lamivudine did not affect male or female fertility in rats at doses up to 4,000 mg per kg per day, associated with concentrations approximately 42 times (male) or 63 times (female) higher than the concentrations (C max ) in humans at the dose of 300 mg.

13.2 Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology

Myocardial degeneration was found in mice and rats following administration of abacavir for 2 years. The systemic exposures were equivalent to 7 to 24 times the expected systemic exposure in humans at a dose of 600 mg. The clinical relevance of this finding has not been determined.


14.1 Adults

One abacavir and lamivudine tablet given once daily is an alternative regimen to EPIVIR ® tablets 300 mg once daily plus ZIAGEN ® tablets 2 x 300 mg once daily as a component of antiretroviral therapy.

The following trial was conducted with the individual components of abacavir and lamivudine tablets.

Therapy-Naive Adults

CNA30021 was an international, multicenter, double-blind, controlled trial in which 770 HIV-1-infected, therapy-naive adults were randomized and received either ZIAGEN ® 600 mg once daily or ZIAGEN ® 300 mg twice daily, both in combination with EPIVIR ® 300 mg once daily and efavirenz 600 mg once daily. The double-blind treatment duration was at least 48 weeks. Trial participants had a mean age of 37 years; were male (81%), white (54%), black (27%), and American Hispanic (15%). The median baseline CD4+ cell count was 262 cells per mm 3 (range: 21 to 918 cells per mm 3) and the median baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.89 log 10 copies per mL (range: 2.60 to 6.99 log 10 copies per mL).

The outcomes of randomized treatment are provided in Table 4.

Table 4. Outcomes of Randomized Treatment through Week 48 (CNA30021)
Subjects achieved and maintained confirmed HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies per mL (less than 400 copies per mL) through Week 48 (Roche AMPLICOR Ultrasensitive HIV-1 MONITOR ® standard test version 1.0).
Includes viral rebound, failure to achieve confirmed less than 50 copies per mL (less than 400 copies per mL) by Week 48, and insufficient viral load response.
Includes consent withdrawn, lost to follow-up, protocol violations, clinical progression, and other.


ZIAGEN ® 600 mg q.d. plus EPIVIR ® plus Efavirenz (n = 384)

ZIAGEN ® 300 mg b.i.d. plus EPIVIR ® plus Efavirenz (n = 386)

Responder *

64% (71%)

65% (72%)

Virologic failure

11% (5%)

11% (5%)

Discontinued due to adverse reactions



Discontinued due to other reasons



After 48 weeks of therapy, the median CD4+ cell count increases from baseline were 188 cells per mm 3 in the group receiving ZIAGEN ® 600 mg once daily and 200 cells per mm 3 in the group receiving ZIAGEN ® 300 mg twice daily. Through Week 48, 6 subjects (2%) in the group receiving ZIAGEN ® 600 mg once daily (4 CDC classification C events and 2 deaths) and 10 subjects (3%) in the group receiving ZIAGEN ® 300 mg twice daily (7 CDC classification C events and 3 deaths) experienced clinical disease progression. None of the deaths were attributed to trial medications.

All MedLibrary.org resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.

This site is provided for educational and informational purposes only, in accordance with our Terms of Use, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner or other qualified health professional.

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.