By Irfana
B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)
12 May 2022 -
Medically reviewed by
D. Pharm
How long does Xanax stay in your system?
Table of Contents

Xanax is the brand name of Alprazolam. Xanax belongs to a drug class called “Benzodiazepines”.

Xanax works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical(GABA) in the body which slows the nerve's impulses throughout the body causing sedation and anti-anxiety effects like calmness and relaxation.

Xanax is not available over the counter. You should always consult your health care provider before consuming this medication. Buy Xanax online from a certified online pharmacy. (Evans, R.L. and Cardoni, A.A., 1981)

Xanax is used to treat the following conditions-

  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Repeated episodes of anxiety(generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Anxiety associated with depression

Keep reading further to know about how long Xanax stays in the system with the help of several factors.

How long does Xanax last?

The effect of Xanax lasts for around 8 hours and the medication is generally dosed three times daily. Xanax extended-release tablets can last for a full 24 hours (1 day) and are dosed once daily. (Evans, R.L. and Cardoni, A.A., 1981)

How long does Xanax stay in your Body?

The half-life is the amount taken to eliminate half of the drug from your body.

The short life of Xanax is 6.3 hours and the average half-life is 11.2 hours. Xanax stays in the system for 1 to 4 days after taking it for the first time, depending on several factors.

Most people feel that the Xanax effect doesn't kick in until 2 hours after taking it. Although the effect of Xanax can last up to 4-8 hours. 

Several factors can influence how long Xanax stays in your system.

Age-Your age can play a factor in the half-life of Xanax. The average half-life is 11 hours in young and healthy adults. Older people tend to metabolize Xanax slowly as compared to young people the average half-life is 16 hours in senior adults.

Weight-When you’re overweight or heavier(high amount of body fat), it’s more difficult to break down Xanax for your body and this will enlarge the half-life of the drug.

Dosage- The higher the dose you take, the longer its half-life tends to be; for instance, if you took 20mg of Xanax versus 5 mg, the first would remain in your system slightly longer than the second. It takes longer for your body to metabolize higher dosages of Xanax. If the dose of Xanax is bigger it results in a longer half-life.

Metabolism-The people who are physically active or people with higher metabolism activity, tend to be able to excrete Xanax faster. Hydration, age, and other health conditions may also play a role in a person's metabolic rate.

Use of other drugs- Xanax has a high potential for drug interactions, and some interactions may increase how long it stays in the body. Drugs that have been shown to increase the time Xanax stays in your system include ritonavir, cimetidine, and certain antidepressants.

We can take the help of a drug test to state how much time Xanax stays in the body.

Several drug tests can detect Xanax. The drug test detects metabolites(products produced during metabolism). Metabolites are primarily excreted in urine and some are found in your blood, saliva, and hair follicle.

  • Urine tests are most commonly used as a popular type of drug test because it is cost-effective and highly accurate.

The metabolite of Xanax is detected in a healthy person's urine for up to 5 days and it may extend to 7 days if you consume a heavy dose. For elderly obese people and those with alcoholic liver disease, the time is taken may be longer

  • Blood tests for benzodiazepine are uncommon and are usually used in medical terms for an emergency. Blood tests have a very short detection(identification) window.  A single dose of Xanax can stay in your blood for 5 days. The blood test can only detect if you have taken Xanax in the last 24 hours.
  • Hair tests are usually reserved for the long term. Xanax takes 1 to 7 days to appear in hair after a dose and stays in your hair for up to 3 months(90 days) after your last dose. A laboratory may test positive results for up to 12 months after taking Xanax because body hair doesn't usually grow quickly.
  • Saliva tests have the shortest detection window. Xanax does not stay in saliva for a long period and it disappears in 2.5 days or less.Xanax can be detected in saliva for up to 2.5 days after taking your last dose

Effects of consuming Xanax?

Xanax may show some side effects on your body which might depend upon dosage and length of treatment. The below-mentioned common side effects are temporary and often go away once your body adapts to the mechanism of the drug.

  • Drowsiness or unsteadiness
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue

Serious side effects are not common, if the symptoms are bothersome and worsen over time you may need immediate medical help. Below mentioned are severe side effects

  • Difficulty breathing or trouble breathing
  • Hallucination (sensory experiences that appear real but are created by your mind)
  • Problems with memory, speech or co-ordination
  • Seizures
  • Severe rash
  • Suicidal thoughts (George TT, Tripp J. Alprazolam)

How long does Xanax take to work?

Xanax is available in the form of tablets, extended-release tablets, and oral solutions. The strength may vary from each other. The peak for a drug is when the level of the drug is highest in the patient's body.

When you take Xanax, your body starts absorbing it quickly, while reaching a peak level in your bloodstream within 1-2 hours and you will feel less anxious.

Long-acting Xanax extended-release tablets take much longer to reach a peak in your bloodstream around 10 hours as it lasts longer in your system.

Xanax lasts longer in such conditions-

The alcoholic liver disease- The liver plays an important role to break down the Xanax, thus a person whose liver doesn't work well will take a longer time to break it down. The average half-life of Xanax in alcoholic liver disease is 19.7 hours.

Older people- Xanax lasts longer in Elderly people because usually, it takes longer to break down Xanax. The average half-life of Xanax in older people is 16.3 hours.

Obesity- Xanax lasts longer in heavier people because obesity makes it hard to break down Xanax. The average half-life of Xanax in obsessed people is 21.8hours.


Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Xanax is a benzodiazepine that works on GABA neurotransmitters and gives a calming and sedating effect. Xanax reaches its peak concentration level and starts working within 1 to 2 hours. The effect of Xanax lasts for around 8 hours and the average half-life of Xanax is 11.2 hours. Xanax will be fully eliminated from the body within two to four days. We can perform several drug tests to detect the presence of Xanax in the body. Several factors like age, weight, dosage, etc can be a helping hand to define the period of Xanax in our body.

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