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

Xanax can be fully metabolized and eliminated from your system after about 4 days. However, some drug tests can detect the drug even longer.

Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines (benzos) for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax is short-acting and doesn’t stay in your system as long as other benzos.

Xanax can be fully metabolized and eliminated from your system after about 4 days. However, some drug tests can detect the drug even longer. The dose and length of time it was used for can affect how long Xanax stays in a person’s system.

Xanax Half-Life

Half-life is the amount of time it takes a drug to reduce to half the amount in your system. The average half-life of Xanax is about 11.2 hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It takes about five half-lives, which amounts to 56 hours for Xanax, before a drug is fully eliminated. This translates to almost 2.5 days that Xanax remains in your bloodstream.

When the liver processes the drug, it creates metabolites that may be detectable in certain drug screens much longer. The active metabolite in Xanax is a-hydroxyalprazolam, which has a half-life of up to 20 hours.

Xanax Drug Screens

Drug testing can determine the presence of Xanax or its metabolites in your saliva, urine, blood, or hair. Although Xanax doesn’t last in your body as long as other benzos, your body may take longer to eliminate it if you take it long-term.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Urine?

Urine tests are the most common drug screening method for benzodiazepines. However, standard urine tests look for metabolites not found in Xanax and special tests may be necessary.

One study found that Xanax remained in urine 36 hours after one dose of Xanax. However, using alprazolam on a regular basis can cause it to be detectable in urine for 2-8 days after the last dose.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Blood?

In a healthy person, Xanax can last in your blood for about 2.5 days. Although blood tests are effective, they are more invasive than other methods of drug screening.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Saliva?

Saliva testing is not as invasive as a blood test but may only show recent Xanax use. Alprazolam is present in saliva for up to 26 hours after a single dose or 2.5 days after regular use.

How Long Does Xanax stay In Your Hair?

Hair follicle testing can effectively detect drugs for up to three months after the last use. The first one to two inches of hair near the scalp are used to determine benzodiazepine use.

Although this method is beneficial to test for long-term use, it takes time for hair to grow. Someone who used Xanax recently may test negative on a hair follicle test but test positive on a blood or urine drug screen.

Effects Of Xanax

Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs used to treat a wide range of medical problems, including seizures, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks.

Other benzos include:

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)

Benzos slow the central nervous system and increase levels of the neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which promotes relaxation and sleepiness.

Although it can be effective at reducing anxiety, Xanax can cause numerous side-effects, including:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • slurred speech
  • memory impairment
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty concentrating

Long-term use can result in the development of benzodiazepine dependence. When your body becomes dependent on benzos, you can experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop.

Xanax Withdrawal

Xanax has a short half-life compared to other benzos and withdrawal symptoms can appear shortly after stopping or reducing the dose too quickly. Depending on the severity of dependency and how long you’ve been taking Xanax, withdrawal symptoms can persist for several weeks or months.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • seizures
  • tremors
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • impaired concentration
  • nausea
  • heart palpitations
  • muscle pain

Detoxification without the help of medical professionals can be dangerous. An inpatient detox program can monitor your symptoms and provide medication to keep you safe and comfortable.


If you take Xanax and want to stop, your doctor may recommend tapering your dose. Tapering helps you safely and slowly reduce the amount of Xanax you take to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax Addiction

Long-term substance abuse increases the risk of developing a Xanax addiction. Addiction is a chronic and complex disease that results in cravings and a loss of control over drug use. Treatment may begin with a detox program, followed by inpatient or outpatient rehab programs.

At Northeast Addictions Treatment Center, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment programs and personalized treatment plans for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about our treatment services, please contact us today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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