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Medically Reviewed

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

- 4 sections

Medically Verified: July 14, 2021

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine medication that is often prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, panic attacks, and agoraphobia. It works by slowing down the central nervous system to produce feelings of relaxation and calm. While effective when used as prescribed, it can be habit-forming and is only intended for short-term use.

Xanax is a schedule IV drug that carries the risk of abuse and addiction. In recent years, Xanax abuse has become more common, and 16 percent of all opioid overdose deaths are thought to involve benzodiazepines such as Xanax.[1]

Xanax is a long-acting benzodiazepine that has an average half-life of 11.2 hours. This means it usually takes about 4 days for the drug to leave the body. However, even after being eliminated from the body, traces of Xanax (metabolites) remain in the urine, blood, hair, and saliva for varying lengths of time.

Understanding how long Xanax stays in the system can help people understand both the length of detox and whether or not they will pass a drug test.


Effects Produced By Xanax and How Long They Last

Xanax comes in the form of a pill that is meant to be swallowed. It comes in several different doses and pills are scored so they can also be cut in half. How strong the effects are depends on how much of the drug is consumed and how high a person’s tolerance is. People usually begin feeling calming effects within one hour after swallowing the pill.

Some of the feelings produced by Xanax include:

side effects of xanax

  • Calmness
  • Relaxation
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness

In high doses, Xanax intoxication can look a lot like alcohol intoxication. Individuals may seem drunk, have difficulty with their memory, and poor coordination.[2] These side effects may become even more pronounced when Xanax is mixed with opioids, alcohol, and other medications. Taking the drug in combination with other substances can also extend the amount of time it takes Xanax to leave the system.

Factors That Influence How Long Xanax Stays in Your System

Xanax stays in each person’s system for different amounts of time. A person’s metabolism, frequency of drug use, and other factors influence how long Xanax stays in the system.

  • Age – A young, healthy adult will metabolize Xanax faster than a senior adult. The older a person is, the longer Xanax will remain in his or her system.
  • Weight – Overweight individuals break down benzodiazepines slower than individuals of a healthy weight. As a result, the half-life of Xanax is longer in people who are overweight.
  • Metabolism – Similar to age and weight, the faster a person’s metabolism, the faster their body will excrete Xanax from the system. Any metabolic disorders may slow down this process. On the other hand, people who are physically active may see Xanax leaving their system faster.
  • Liver health – The liver helps the body process and metabolize drugs like Xanax. If it is functioning poorly, the half-life is increased, and it takes the drug longer to leave the body.
  • Frequency of Xanax use – Some people take Xanax once a day, others abuse it and take it far too often. People who use Xanax more regularly can expect it to remain in their system for extended periods of time.
  • Regular dosage – The higher dose a person takes, the more Xanax can accumulate in their system, and the longer it can take to metabolize and remove from the body.
  • Length of Xanax dependency – Someone who has been addicted to Xanax for several years may need more time for it to clear their system than someone who has been addicted for just a few months.

People who are addicted to Xanax will experience withdrawal symptoms as the substance leaves the body.

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

The half-life of Xanax can be affected by all of the above-listed factors, however, it has an average half-life of 11.2 hours. It takes about five half-lives for a substance to clear the system, so that means Xanax usually takes about 4 days to be eliminated from the system.[3]

Different types of drug tests can detect Xanax for varying lengths of time. Although the drug is cleared from the body at different rates, the average timelines are as follows:

Limit of Xanax in the System

  • Urine tests: Xanax can be detected for up to 4 days in urine
  • Hair follicle screenings: Xanax can be detected for up to 90 days (3 months) in the hair follicle
  • Blood tests: Xanax can only be detected in blood in the first 24 hours after being consumed
  • Saliva tests: Xanax can be detected in saliva for up to two and a half days

Find Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction

If you’re worried about flushing Xanax from your system for a drug test, it’s likely that you are either abusing your medication or taking the drug illegally. Recovering from Xanax addiction is a serious venture that requires medical detox and professional treatment.

Here at Charlotte Detox Center, our team can help you begin your recovery journey with medically-assisted detox and clinically renowned care. Learn more about our drug detox programs in Charlotte, North Carolina, or begin your recovery today by speaking with one of our dedicated addiction specialists.