How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

Learn about Xanax, how long it stays in the body, and treatment methods for Xanax addiction.

A Look at Alprazolam

Xanax is one of the many brand names for alprazolam, a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines, which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a particular natural chemical in the body (GABA).1

For this article, we’ll refer to alprazolam by the most common brand name, Xanax.
how long does xanax stay in your system


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Common Xanax Online Searches

Xanax is a potent drug and can often be misused and form powerful addictions. It is therefore often checked for during drug tests and also the subject of many online searches related to this, such as:
It is vital to note that anyone misusing Xanax or attempting to cheat on a Xanax drug test is putting their health and potentially their lives in danger. Please seek the help of a medical professional immediately if you or anyone you know may be misusing this powerful and potentially fatal drug.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax tablets contain alprazolam, a triazole analog of the 1,4-benzodiazepine class of central nervous system active compounds.
Alprazolam is a white crystalline powder that is soluble in methanol or ethanol but has no appreciable solubility in water at physiological pH. Each Xanax tablet, for oral administration, contains 0.25, 0.5, 1, or 2 mg of alprazolam.2
Alprazolam comes as a tablet, an extended-release tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth), and a concentrated solution (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablet, orally disintegrating tablet, and concentrated solution are usually taken two to four times a day. The extended-release tablet is taken once daily, usually in the morning.
Follow the directions on the prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Always take alprazolam exactly as directed.3


Central nervous system (CNS) agents of the 1,4-benzodiazepine class presumably exert their effects by binding at stereo-specific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system.
Their exact mechanism of action is unknown; however, clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis.4

What Is it Used For?

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

It is important to note that questions like “how long does Xanax stay in your system” and “how to work out Xanax time in system” are often asked by people trying to mislead or cheat on drug tests. The purpose of this article is to provide information and not to aid any attempts to cheat on Xanax drug tests.
Studies have shown that the half-life of Xanax ranges from 6.3 to 26.9 hours. Half-life is a figure of time that estimates how long it takes for the concentration or amount of a drug in the body to be reduced by exactly one-half (50%).
On average, after four to five half-lives, 97% of a drug has been cleared from the body, and the drug is no longer considered to have any effect. Nevertheless, this does not mean that it won’t be detectable by a drug test, as this depends on how specific and sensitive the drug test is.
If we use the average half-life of Xanax, which is 11.2 hours, then the following is estimated for a 1 mg dose of Xanax:6

Xanax Detection

Xanax can be detected in the following Xanax drug tests:

Factors Affecting How Long Xanax Stays in Your System

Drug half-life is defined as the amount of time required for the drug concentration to be reduced to exactly half the initial concentration or amount in the blood.
The factors that affect the half-life of Xanax include:7
While these factors affect the Xanax time in the system, they might not affect Xanax detection time in the same way. A Xanax test is dependent on other factors, as previously discussed in the article.
People should not deliberately try to avoid or mislead a Xanax test as the test is for their own good, and an honest result is essential for treatment or assessment purposes.

Potential Side Effects of Taking Xanax

Common side effects of Xanax include:8

Xanax Addiction Treatment

Xanax is a highly addictive drug that can cause physical, emotional, and psychological dependence. Treatment for Xanax addiction includes some of the following elements:
Xanax Addiction Treatment


This is usually the first phase of treatment for Xanax addiction—it involves getting the drug out of the body’s system. When it comes to Xanax, this can be particularly difficult due to possible severe withdrawal symptoms. Thus, medical detox in a hospital or clinic is usually the preferred method.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment involves addiction treatment where the patient attends the facility during the day and can return home in the evenings.

Individual therapy

This is a form of one-on-one psychotherapy between a trained professional and a patient. The goal is to work through the patient’s addiction issues using various techniques.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis is when a person is diagnosed with both a substance use disorder, such as Xanax addiction, and a mental health disorder, such as depression, that often accompanies the addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment involves addressing and treating both disorders at the same time.