The pharmacokinetics of lamivudine phosphorylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients infected with HIV-1

AIDS. 1999 Nov 12;13(16):2239-50. doi: 10.1097/00002030-199911120-00006.


Objective: To assess the pharmacokinetics of lamivudine phosphorylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients infected with HIV-1.

Design: Single-center, open-label, randomized, two-period, cross-over study in 10 asymptomatic, antiretroviral-experienced, HIV-1-infected patients who had a CD4+ lymphocyte count of 200-500 x 10(6)/l and had received combination treatment with lamivudine 150 mg twice a day plus zidovudine 600 mg a day (divided into two or three doses) for > or = 16 weeks prior to study entry.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive lamivudine 150 mg twice a day or lamivudine 300 mg twice a day for 14 days, with at least a 48-h washout period between treatments. Serial blood samples were collected over 36 h for determination of lamivudine serum concentrations using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and intracellular phosphate PBMC concentrations using high performance liquid chromatography/radioimmunoassay methods. Pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated based on lamivudine and lamivudine anabolite concentration-time data.

Results: Intracellular pharmacokinetic parameters were highly variable between patients (coefficient of variations approximately 50%). The two regimens produced lamivudine-total phosphate (totP) values of a similar magnitude. Although the 300-mg regimen tended to produce higher lamivudine-monophosphate (MP) and -triphosphate (TP) values, differences from values produced by the 150-mg regimen were not statistically significant. As lamivudine diphosphate (DP) was the predominant anabolite, accounting for 50-55% of lamivudine-totP (compared with 30-35% for lamivudine-MP and 15-20% for lamivudine-TP), the conversion of lamivudine-DP to lamivudine-TP can be regarded as the rate-limiting step. The median lamivudine-TP intracellular half-life (t1/2) for the 150-mg and 300-mg regimens did not differ significantly (15.3 and 16.1 h, respectively). Serum lamivudine pharmacokinetic parameters were consistent with those observed in previous studies in HIV-1-infected patients. No apparent linear relationships were observed between lamivudine intracellular anabolite and serum data.

Conclusions: The intracellular pharmacokinetics of lamivudine phosphorylation in PBMC from asymptomatic HIV-1-infected patients are highly variable and do not differ statistically between the 150- and 300-mg twice a day regimens. The variations in intracellular lamivudine-TP concentrations following these two lamivudine dosage regimens are unlikely to result in differences in clinical effect. This was confirmed by the results of a large phase III study in HIV-1-infected patients which showed no differences in HIV-1 RNA or CD4+ lymphocyte counts between the 150- and 300-mg lamivudine regimens in combination with zidovudine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Lamivudine / adverse effects
  • Lamivudine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Lamivudine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Lamivudine