How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

drug test for how long Xanax stays in a person's system

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

With an average half-life of 11.2 hours, Xanax (alprazolam) leaves the body after approximately 4 days. However, that doesn’t mean the drug can’t be detected on drug tests. Drug tests screen for Xanax metabolites which can stay in your system for various lengths of time. The amount of time Xanax stays in your system is also determined heavily by individual factors such as your age, weight, and substance abuse patterns. 

Side Effects of Xanax (Alprazolam) Abuse

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax is a central nervous system depressant that is used to treat anxiety. While the effects you may feel after taking Xanax may vary depending on your dosage and how your body reacts, you can expect to feel calm and relaxed within 30-60 minutes of ingestion. Some common side effects of Xanax that typically go away once you get used to the medication include:[1]

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Clumsiness

The effects produced by Xanax mimic those produced by alcohol or other benzodiazepines. You may feel drunk, intoxicated, confused, or extremely relaxed and carefree. This is because Xanax works to enhance the reuptake of GABA in the brain, a neurotransmitter that slows nerve impulses and causes sedating effects. 

Other common side effects of abusing Xanax include:

  • Difficulty forming memories while under the influence
  • Inability to recall events that happened while under the influence
  • Problems with speech or coordination
  • Lowered inhibitions and increased risky behaviors

Mixing Xanax with alcohol or other illicit drugs can increase these side effects as well as the risk of overdose. Since there are a variety of factors that determine how the body processes and eliminates Xanax from the system, the way you experience Xanax may be different from someone else.

How Long The Effects of Xanax Last

Xanax (alprazolam) is a fairly fast-acting drug and its effects only last for approximately 4 hours. Even though the effects don’t last long, the half-life of Xanax is actually 11.2 hours. This explains both why people with a prescription have to take Xanax multiple times a day and why Xanax withdrawal lasts for so long – the drug stays in your body for a long time, it just becomes ineffective after 4 hours.

When Xanax (alprazolam) enters the body, it is transported through the body and processed in the liver. The liver then metabolizes alprazolam into two primary metabolites: 4-hydroxyalprazolam and α-hydroxyalprazolam.[1]

It takes approximately five half-lives for a substance to clear the body, and with a half-life of 11.2 hours, it can be said that Xanax is fully eliminated from your body after 2-4 days.

How Long Xanax Stays in Your Urine, Blood, Saliva, and Hair

Even though Xanax leaves your system after 2-4 days, drug tests can detect the substance for much longer. This is because drug tests detect metabolites; not the actual substance itself.

Xanax (alprazolam) and its metabolites are primarily excreted in the urine.[1] However, some metabolites can be found in your blood, saliva, and hair follicle, as well. Drug tests can be run using these various specimens, but each type of drug test has a different detection window.

Although there are many factors that determine exactly how long Xanax stays in your system, here’s a general timeline of how long Xanax is detected in your urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle.[2]

Xanax and Urine Tests

Urine tests are the most popular type of drug test because they are cost-effective, noninvasive, and highly accurate. Xanax will be detected in a healthy person’s urine for up to 5-7 days after taking it. For elderly individuals or those with a slower metabolism, the detection window may be much longer.

Xanax and Blood Tests

Blood tests are usually only used in the medical field for emergencies. They also have a very short detection window. Xanax can stay in your blood and be detected for approximately 24 hours.

Xanax and Saliva Tests

Saliva tests can detect Xanax for 2.5 days after taking your last dose.

Xanax and Hair Follicle Tests

Hair tests have the longest detection window of all. Xanax can be detected in your hair between 2-3 weeks after using the drug and for up to 90 days.

Individual Factors That Determine How Long Xanax Stays In Your System

There are several factors that affect how long Xanax takes to be eliminated from your system and how long it can be detected on a drug test. These include:

  • Age, weight, metabolism, liver function, mental health, and other health factors – Older individuals, people who are overweight, or those with a poor metabolism or liver function will take longer to process and excrete Xanax. A younger individual with healthy liver function, on the other hand, won’t take near as long to clear Xanax from their system.
  • Frequency, dose of Xanax, and length of drug use – Your habits surrounding your drug use will also influence the amount of time it takes your body to process Xanax. The higher dosage, the longer the amount of time, and the more frequent you use Xanax, the longer it will stay in your system and show up on drug tests. This is because more drug use leads to more metabolites in the body, so it takes longer to excrete all of these metabolites in the urine.
  • Alcohol and nicotine intake – alcohol and nicotine may slow down the process of metabolizing Xanax, causing it to stay in your system longer.

Ultimately, there is no way to know exactly how long the drug will be detected on your drug test. If you have to pass a drug test, the best thing you can do is to not abuse Xanax in the first place.

How To Get Xanax Out Of Your System

Detoxification is the natural process during which the body clears its own system of toxins and other substances. If you’re concerned about an upcoming drug test, you may be wondering how you can speed up this detox process to get Xanax out of your system in time for your drug test. Unfortunately, there is no safe way to do so. The only way to get Xanax out of your system is to let your body do its natural processes and let detoxification run its course. 

While you may see several myths online involving homemade remedies, fake urine, or rapid detox cleanses, the only two steps you can realistically take are:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Don’t take more Xanax

Stopping Xanax isn’t always easy, and it’s not always safe, either, Abruptly stopping Xanax can lead to rebound withdrawal symptoms of extreme anxiety and depression as well as seizures and suicidal thoughts.[3] As a result, if you are serious about getting sober from Xanax, your best bet is to seek help from a medical detox center.

Find Help Today

If you are stressed out about flushing Xanax out of your system to pass a drug test, it may be time to take a step back and examine your substance abuse habits. Are you abusing your medication? Are you physically dependent on your medication? Do you find it hard to function normally without abusing Xanax? If so, you may be addicted.

The good news is that Xanax addiction is entirely treatable with the help of a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program. Give us a call today to learn more about your drug rehab options and to get started on your journey to sobriety.

References:

  1. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/018276s052lbl.pdf
  2. https://journals.lww.com/drug-monitoring/Abstract/2015/08000/Detection_Times_of_Diazepam,_Clonazepam,_and.5.aspx
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/