How Long Does Xanax (Alprazolam) Stay in Your System?

how long does xanax stay in the system

Xanax (alprazolam) is the most widely abused benzodiazepine medication. It is available in many different doses, however, all are equally addictive when they are misused.

Xanax works by calming the nervous system and promoting feelings of relaxation. In high doses, it can cause drowsiness, a drunk-like state, and erratic emotions. When combined with other substances–like heroin or alcohol–Xanax is extremely dangerous and can lead to adverse side effects or a life-threatening overdose.

Knowing how long Xanax stays in your system is valuable information because it can help you take the medication safely. Understanding how your body metabolizes it and how long it takes can prevent you from taking too much of the medication in a certain window of time which can help you avoid overdose and other adverse events.

However, there are many factors that dictate how long drugs remain in your system and how fast they are metabolized. As a result, it’s important to understand your body, the half-life of Xanax, and more.

How Long Do The Effects of Xanax Last?

Upon taking Xanax, most people feel the calming effects within one hour. Xanax is a short-acting opioid though, so the effects don’t last very long. How long they last depend on a variety of factors, such as your tolerance to the medication and what dose you took. The lower your tolerance and the higher the dose, the longer the effects will last.

Peak levels of Xanax can be found in your blood between 1-2 hours after your last dose.

In general, Xanax is no longer effective in the body after about four hours. As a result, many people who are prescribed Xanax must take it several times per day.

How Long Does it Take Xanax To Leave The Body?

In order to understand how long Xanax stays in your system, you have to know the elimination half-life of the medication. The elimination half-life is a measurement used to describe how long it takes half of the drug to be metabolized and eliminated through urine. It takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for 99% of a substance to leave your body.

Xanax has an approximate half-life of 11.2 hours.[1] If it takes 4-5 half-lives for Xanax to be metabolized and leave your body, this means it could take 2-4 days for it to be fully eliminated from your body.[2]

What Factors Influence How Long Xanax Stays in Your System?

Some people process drugs faster than others. This is because everyone’s body and metabolism are different. Various unique individual factors can influence how long it takes for Xanax to be metabolized and leave your system.[2]

These factors include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Body mass
  • Hydration
  • Ethnicity
  • Liver disease
  • Metabolism
  • Nicotine use

Other more controllable factors include:

  • The amount (dose) of Xanax taken
  • Frequency of Xanax use
  • How long you have been taking Xanax regularly

The more Xanax you take more frequently, the longer it will take for it to leave your system completely.

Detecting Xanax in Your System: Urine, Saliva, Blood, and Hair

Even after Xanax is metabolized and eliminated from your body, trace metabolites of the drug are left behind in your urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle.[2] These metabolites can be detected on some types of drug tests. The general timelines are as follows:

  • Urine – Urine screenings are often conducted for employment purposes, but they can also be used in any situation where a drug test is required. These tests are low-cost, minimally invasive, and highly accurate. Xanax can stay in urine for up to 4 days, but it may stay longer in the urine of people with slow metabolisms.
  • Saliva – Xanax can be detected in your saliva up to 2.5 days after your last dose.
  • Blood – Blood tests are rarely used due to their invasive nature, but they are sometimes used in medical treatment settings. Xanax can stay in your blood for up to 2.5 days.
  • Hair – Hair tests have the longest detection window of all drug tests, and Xanax can be detected in the hair follicle for up to 90 days.

There are a few medications that may cause false-positive results on immunoassay urine drug screenings. These medications include Zoloft (sertraline) and Daypro (oxaprozin). A false positive can be confirmed by secondary lab testing.

If you are taking Xanax by prescription and are subject to a drug test, you should inform the testing center so they can interpret your results accurately. However, if you’re worried about passing a drug test because you haven’t been able to stop taking Xanax, you may be addicted to the medication and in need of professional treatment services.

Find Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction Today

Xanax is a safe and effective prescription medication when used as directed. But, in recent years, Xanax abuse and addiction have become rampant. Abusing Xanax can not only be addictive, but it can be dangerous. Between 2019 and 2020, over 16% of overdose deaths involved benzodiazepines.[3]

You don’t have to be another statistic. There is a way out of Xanax addiction and it begins with treatment.

Don’t wait any longer to get the help you deserve. Call now to speak with a dedicated admissions specialist to see if our is right for you.


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