How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

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Xanax is the brand name for a prescription benzodiazepine drug called alprazolam. Alprazolam is commonly used to treat anxiety, panic, and seizure disorders. It works by slowing down abnormal activity in your brain to induce feelings of calmness and prevent seizures.[1]

While Xanax is effective in treating an array of conditions, it is known to be habit-forming and highly addictive. If you have been taking Xanax for a long time or misuse the substance, you could be addicted to it.

Xanax can stay in your system for several days and may be detected on a drug test for up to four days. However, the exact detection times depend on the dose you were taking, how long you’ve been taking Xanax, how your body metabolizes it, and other factors.

How Long Do the Effects of Xanax Last?

Xanax is often referred to as a “rescue medication” which means it can be taken situationally to quickly relieve feelings of anxiety. Xanax is typically taken orally and the effects begin within an hour of consuming it.

The side effects of Xanax include:[1]

  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Feelings of well-being or euphoria
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability or difficulty concentrating
  • Talkativeness
  • Dry mouth or increased salivation
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Changes in sex drive or ability

How long the effects of Xanax last will depend on a variety of personal factors, including how tolerant you are of the medication, the dosage you take, and how often you consume the drug. However, most people experience the effects of Xanax for about six hours.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

How long Xanax remains in your system will depend on a variety of variables. For example, your overall health, whether you take additional medications, and the dose, frequency of use, and your tolerance level all play a role. However, most people follow the same general timeline when it comes to eliminating Xanax from the body.

To understand how long Xanax stays in your system, you must take a look at the half-life. A drug’s half-life explains how long it takes your body to eliminate half of a single dose of a substance. Typically, it takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be completely removed from your body.

The half-life of Xanax is between 12.5 hours to 16 hours depending on whether you are taking the immediate or extended-release version of the drug.[2] This means it can take up to 80 hours for Xanax to be eliminated from your body.

How Long is Xanax Detected on a Drug Test?

Because Xanax is a controlled substance, you might be wondering how long it shows up on a drug test. Certain jobs may require that you do not have Xanax or other drugs in your system before they offer you employment. While the exact length of time Xanax remains in your system depends on your metabolism, rate of drug abuse, and more, taking a look at how long each drug test can detect Xanax in your system will give you a general idea.


Urine drug tests are the most common type of test used. Urine tests look for metabolites that Xanax leaves behind in your urine. Xanax can be detected in urine for up to four days after the last dose.


Saliva drug tests are less common than urine, as they are not as reliable. However, some employers might still use them. Saliva drug tests can detect Xanax in your saliva for up to two days after your last dose.


Blood tests are not as commonly used because they are invasive and provide a short window of detection. This type of drug test is most common in hospital settings. Blood tests can detect Xanax in your system for up to 27 hours after you last used the substance.


Hair tests provide the longest window of detection for any type of drug – including Xanax. However, they are expensive, which means they are not as commonly used as urine drug tests. Hair tests can detect Xanax in your hair follicles for up to 90 days after your last dose.

Find Help for Xanax Addiction

With the right treatment, anyone can overcome Xanax addiction. At New Jersey Interventions, we can help you find a Xanax rehab center that will provide you with the support and tools you need to maintain long-term recovery from Xanax addiction. To learn more about how we can help you find a treatment center that suits your needs, contact New Jersey Interventions today.


  1. Medline Plus: Alprazolam, Retrieved July 2023 From
  2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Alprazolam Label, Retrieved July 2023 From

Medically Reviewed: July 19, 2023

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


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

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

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

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