How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Drug testing is most frequently conducted using a urine test, which can detect Xanax up to a week following the person’s last use. However, there are some tests, such as hair follicle tests, which can detect Xanax abuse over several months.

The brand name anti-anxiety medication Xanax, also known by its generic name alprazolam, will remain in the body of a healthy adult for around 56 hours after their last dose.

However, the rate at which the drug is cleared from the body can vary depending on a number of factors. And even after a drug is processed out from most of the body’s tissues, it’s possible that heavy, regular Xanax use could be detected for certain lengths of time.

Xanax Drug Tests & Detection Times

Drug tests can identify the use of Xanax and other drugs of abuse even after the effects of your last dose have completely worn off. 

However, some of the most common drug screens do not test for benzodiazepines, despite these drugs being highly controlled due to frequent substance abuse.

Those drug tests that are able to detect Xanax do so by identifying the drug’s unique metabolite, a chemical substance known as α-hydroxyalprazolam.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Urine?

Urine tests are the most common and effective option for checking for drug use and can detect the presence of Xanax’ metabolites for between 4-7 days after a person’s last dose.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Blood?

Blood tests are more invasive and expensive than other types of drug tests and tend to have some of the shortest detection windows.

For Xanax, a blood test can usually only detect a substance for a few hours or potentially a full day following high dose drug use.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Saliva?

Saliva tests for Xanax use are very unusual. However, some studies have shown that the drug could be identified in saliva for 2-3 days after a person’s last dose.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Hair?

Hair tests, also known as hair follicle tests, are by far the best option for detecting drug use over a long period of time and can potentially identify Xanax use for up to 90 days after a person’s last dose.

However, hair follicle tests are specialized and are only effective when a person has used a substance regularly or in high doses, allowing it to build-up in the hair sample being tested.

Factors That Influence Xanax Detection Windows

There are many factors that can influence how long Xanax stays in the body and remains detectable using different drug tests, including:

  • dosage and frequency of use
  • length of use
  • metabolic rate
  • liver/kidney function
  • height and weight
  • body fat content
  • age
  • mixing Xanax use with other prescription or illicit drugs

Xanax Half-Life

The half-life of any drug is the amount of time it takes for the body to clear one half of that drug’s peak concentration after it is taken. 

A longer half-life means that the body removes a substance more slowly, while a short half-life identifies a drug that is quickly purged from the body.

The average half-life of Xanax in a person’s system is around 11 hours. It is effectively removed from the body after 5 half-lives, or around 56 hours (2.5 days), though this may take up to four days in cases where the drug was used heavily or chronically.

Xanax Duration Of Effect

Xanax is a short-acting prescription drug that reaches its peak concentration and effectiveness between 1 and 2 hours after it is taken. After 6 hours, the effects of Xanax tend to wear off, even though some of the drug will still be present and detectable in drug tests during this time.

The drug’s effects on the neurotransmitter GABA cause significant central nervous system (CNS) depression, sedation, and an overall calming and easing of mental health, physical tension, stress, and nervous energy. 

This makes Xanax an effective short-term treatment option for controlling anxiety disorders and panic disorders.

Other benzo medications with different potencies, length of effect, and speed of effect are also used to treat seizures, insomnia, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Xanax Addiction Treatment Programs

Like other benzodiazepines, Xanax is habit-forming and regular use can lead to physical dependence followed by withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.

Tapering schedules and medical detox programs are highly recommended for anyone considering Xanax detoxification.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about managing the habit-building effects of Xanax abuse through inpatient care, medical detoxification, and behavioral therapy, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Mayo Clinic Laboratories
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  3. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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