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Alprazolam, the generic form of Xanax, was the 21st most commonly prescribed drug in the United States in 2017, with 25,516,329 prescriptions for the drug in that year alone. This medication is in the benzodiazepine (“benzos”) drug class, meaning it’s a tranquilizer.

While Xanax is currently a popular medication, not many people know much about it. So, just what does taking Xanax do, anyway? And how long does Xanax stay in your system? We’ve gathered medically-reviewed information so you can know all of the ins and outs of this drug.

How long does Xanax stay in your system?

In order for tests to detect Xanax, it depends on the timeframe from the last use. It’s important to note that many drug tests do not actually screen for Xanax. Rather, they look for α-hydroxyalprazolam, a metabolite of Xanax alprazolam. How long Xanax stays in your system usually falls within the following time frames after last use:

Saliva: 2.5 days

Urine: 2 to 8 days

Blood: 1 to 2 days

Hair follicle: Up to 3 months

What is the half-life of Xanax?

The FDA states the following information regarding Xanax half-life:

Mean effective half-life: 11.2 hours 

Time to steady-state: 7 days

Mean accumulation ratio: 8.0 to 37 ng/mL

Terminal phase half-life: 11.2 hours

Xanax has an oral bioavailability of 80% to 100%. The body readily absorbs this drug with a peak concentration in just one or two hours. 


How long does it take for Xanax to get out of your system?

The average half-life of Xanax is between 11 hours and 11.2 hours. Half-lives mean that’s how many hours and that’s how long Xanax stays in your system and takes that amount of time for the body to get rid of half the dose taken.

With that in mind, it may take up to a day for Xanax to completely eliminate the drug from a person’s body. Blood tests can determine how long Xanax stays in your body with a variety of tests. For instance, with saliva tests, Xanax usually stays in your body for 2.5 days after last use.

For drug tests, it’s important to keep in mind that Xanax can be detected in varying amounts of time depending on the type of test. But, the length of time that it takes Xanax to leave your body may take longer based on factors like the rate of metabolism, age, and body fat. Based on these factors that affect users, the timeframe of how long the drug stays in your body may vary and may take longer for some.

What is the Xanax half-life in dogs?

Depending on the dose and size of the dog, the average half-life is four to six hours. 

What is the Xanax half-life in cats?

The exact half-life of the drug is unclear in cats. It is thought that the half-life for cats is less than that for dogs, which is four to six hours. 

What is the alprazolam urine detection time?

It depends on several factors, including the frequency of use of the drug. In most cases, urine tests can detect Xanax from a person’s system two to eight days after last use. 

What is the longest detection time for Xanax in urine?

Urine tests can detect Xanax in your body typically one week after the last dose.

What Does Xanax Do?

Xanax is a short-acting sedative that effectively helps calm the central nervous system (CNS). Specifically, it binds to specific reception sites on certain kinds of GABA receptors. This process allows GABA to more easily bind to its own reception site. GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter—aka, it helps calm down our CNS.

This calming can result in some positive effects, such as the short-term reduction in anxiety and panic. That’s why people use the drug Xanax to manage conditions in their body like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The drug is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders in an effective and safe way depending on the dose of Xanax. Xanax may assist someone with a panic disorder, but it’s important to consult a medical professional before using the drug Xanax.

Seeking Help for Substance Abuse

The demand for Xanax has grown considerably in recent years. Along with legitimate prescriptions for Xanax alprazolam has come a surge in Xanax abuse cases. According to Addiction Center, the United States experienced 124,902 ER visits in 2010 due to Xanax drug abuse alone.

Unfortunately, those numbers have continued to climb as well. In 2011, for example, ER visits in the US for benzos totaled almost 176,000. What’s worse, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about half of those cases involved not just benzos like Xanax, but also other drugs or even alcohol, which can lead to alcoholic liver disease, other forms of liver disease, and other long-term side effects.

Abusing multiple substances and taking Xanax may increase the risk of severe complications and dangerous side effects and the dosage may affect how long it stays in your body. If you experience side effects of Xanax to your central nervous system, it’s important to seek immediate medical help. In the end, it’s important to take action to get treatment for this addiction for both your mental health and physical health.

Those who want to get help with addiction treatment may refer to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline. The Helpline is free to use and available 24/7. While people often experience drug withdrawal symptoms after stopping the use of this drug, they should disappear after a few weeks depending on the dose of Xanax the person takes into their body on a daily basis.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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