Emtricitabine (Molecule of the Month for May 2007)
FTC, Emtriva, Coviracil
Emtricitabine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults. When HIV infects a cell, reverse transcriptase copies the viral single stranded RNA genome into a double-stranded viral DNA. The viral DNA is then integrated into the host chromosomal DNA which then allows host cellular processes, such as transcription and translation to reproduce the virus. RTIs block reverse transcriptase's enzymatic function and prevent completion of synthesis of the double-stranded viral DNA thus preventing HIV from multiplying.
Emtricitabine is an analogue of cytidine. The drug works by inhibiting reverse transcriptase, the enzyme that copies HIV RNA into new viral DNA. By interfering with this process, which is central to the replication of HIV, emtricitabine can help to lower the amount of HIV, or "viral load", in a patient's body and can indirectly increase the number of immune system cells
It was approved by the FDA July 2, 2003. It is very similar to Lamivudine (3TC) and cross-resistance between the two is near-universal.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for May 2007 )