How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

Xanax, a mild tranquilizer, belongs to the class of medications classified as benzodiazepines. Although, when used as prescribed, it calms nerves and increases relaxation, when abused and used in high doses, it has the potential to be very addictive. Xanax can become addicting for individuals looking for a high as it is a high-potency benzodiazepine that yields pleasurable side effects like a feeling of unreality, deep sleep, and lightheadedness. There are adverse side effects often associated with Xanax use as well. These include forgetfulness, loss of appetite, weight loss, tremors, and memory dysfunction. For this reason, Xanax is classified as a federally controlled substance.


The question of how long this medication remains in the system is often debated. However, the answer to this question depends on a few subjective factors. The first factor to consider is how long it takes to feel the effects of ingested Xanax.

How Long to Feel the Effects of Xanax?

When taken orally as prescribed, it is slowly quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Typically, one dose’s effects can be felt in under an hour; however, peak absorption occurs at the 1-2 hour mark. However, for individuals who take the medication often, the effects may take longer to feel. Furthermore, the medication’s sedative effects may not feel as strong to those who have built up a tolerance.

How Long Do the Effects of Xanax Last?

The answer to this question is entirely dependent on other biological factors. Xanax is not considered a long-lasting medication because the effects of this mediation only last for approximately 4 hours. However, many indicators factor into how long the sedative and calming effects of Xanax may last. The first consideration to make is the drug’s half-life. Simply, the half-life is the time in which it takes half of a single dose to be metabolized and eliminated from the body. Exact metabolization will depend on individual factors like weight, body fat content, age, and the amount of the drug taken. It has an elimination half-life of approximately 11 hours but can range from as few as 6 hours to as many as 27 hours, depending on the aforementioned and other metabolic factors.

It takes about two full days for the medication to be eliminated from the body for most people. However, the feeling of the sedative effects of it will stop much sooner than that, which is why this medication may be prescribed more than just once per day.

As previously noted, many factors will determine how long it takes an individual to metabolize benzodiazepines. Concerning age, studies indicate that the half-life in healthy older people is much longer than in healthy younger adults. Concerning weight considerations, the half-life is much higher in obese individuals, which means it will take them much longer to metabolize the drug. Concerning dosage, reasonably, higher doses take longer to metabolize than smaller doses. Moreover, other factors that should be taken into account include liver function, substance abuse, other medications, and even ethnicity. Each of these indicators may also increase or decrease the effects of ingested Xanax.

Drug Detection Time for Xanax

Benzodiazepines can be detected through urine analysis, blood test, hair follicle test, or saliva swabs. The detection time of this medication depends on usage and dosage. Urine analysis is most typically used to detect this medication; however, its length can take to be detected varies. For the occasional user, a urine test will not likely detect the medication beyond four days. However, in heavier uses, the medication may be detected for up to a week. In blood tests, it can be detected for up to 24 hours of usage and 2.5 days in a saliva test. Meanwhile, in a hair follicle test, the substance can be detected for up to 90 days following usage.

90 Days2.5 days24 hours4-7 days
Xanax Detection Times

Withdrawal Symptoms

Although many drug programs and potential employers do not specifically test for benzodiazepines, some may. For instance, employment opportunities where heavy machinery will be operated may test for this substance. If anticipating urine analysis that will screen for benzodiazepines, it is important not to discontinue cold turkey. Instead, it’s advisable to either wean from Xanax or work with your doctor to find an alternative medication. Withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous, so you should always properly wean and/or discontinue usage under a doctor’s care. Some notable withdrawal symptoms include sweating, convulsions, hallucinations, and vomiting.

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

To be clear, the length of time that Xanax will remain in one’s system is entirely dependent on individual factors. As noted, indicators like weight, dosage, usage, metabolism, age, and other substances will be all factor into how long the medication will remain in your system. Furthermore, detection times will vary depending on the type of test being used to detect the substance.