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

How long Xanax (alprazolam) can be detected in the body depends on a variety of factors as well as the method of testing used for detection. For instance, a urine test can detect Xanax use for up to a few days, while hair tests can detect Xanax use for up to 90 days or more.

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Certain physiological factors play into how long Xanax stays in the system as well, not to mention the frequency of use, duration of use, and dose amount.

Xanax’s Half-Life

A drug’s half-life plays an essential role in how long a drug stays in your system. A drug’s half-life refers to the amount of time the body takes to get rid of half the drug dosage. 

Alprazolam’s elimination half-life ranges from 6 to 27 hours. Many individuals have the ability to rid their bodies of half a dose of Xanax in around 11 hours. 

Xanax Testing Methods

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There are four primary ways that Xanax can be identified in the body’s system: urine test, saliva test, blood test, and hair follicle test. 

Urine tests are quite cost-effective, so this is the most common method of testing used. Urine test detection specifically depends on how frequently the drug was used and in what amount. For heavy users, it may take up to a week after stopping use for Xanax to be out of their system.

Both blood and saliva tests detect alprazolam on a shorter timeline. Blood and saliva are both effective methods for testing if a person has used Xanax within the past few hours or even a day or two.

Hair tests are not often used, as they are among the least cost-effective methods of testing. However, hair tests are the most effective way to determine patterns of use over a long period of time. Hair tests work by detecting drug accumulation, which is actually detectable in an individual’s hair follicles. Please note that it does take a longer time for Xanax to appear on a hair test than it does in a person’s bodily fluids (blood, saliva, and urine). 

How Long Will Xanax Show on a Drug Test?

An unprecedented rise in illicit alprazolam use has led to the advancement of drug testing for Xanax. The drug can currently be detected through various means and shows up in the body’s tissue as well as bodily fluids.

As long as Xanax remains in the body it will be detectable by drug testing methods. Benzodiazepine detectability varies depending on the drug in question and the method of testing used.

Xanax detectability windows are as follows:

  • Blood: 1 day
  • Hair: 1 to 3 months
  • Saliva: Around 2.5 days
  • Urine:4 days typically, but can remain for up to a week with heavy Xanax users

Xanax & Breastfeeding

Xanax can also be detected in breast milk. Xanax’s half-life in relation to breast milk is around 14 hours, which means that the drug can stay in an individual’s breast milk for up to three days, depending on the severity of use.  

It is also possible that a baby can become exposed to Xanax via breast milk. Although some individuals continue to take prescription Xanax while pregnant, it’s important to consult with a medical professional if you intend to breastfeed while simultaneously taking a benzodiazepine drug of any kind, including Xanax.

Factors That Affect How Long Xanax Stays in Your Body 

There are various factors that influence how long Xanax stays in a person’s system, including certain genetic factors as well as physiological factors like age, weight, and height. 

Xanax will stay longer in a person’s system if they use it in high doses and for a long period of time. Those who use Xanax as prescribed and in smaller doses for a shorter period of time will more than likely process the drug through their system faster.

It’s important to understand that Xanax cannot be flushed from the body, which is a popular method for getting past a drug test when it comes to certain illicit drugs such as marijuana. Xanax will stay in an individual’s system until the liver has fully processed the drug. This process cannot be sped up or manipulated.

How Body Fat Affects Duration

Xanax happens to be fat-soluble, which means that Xanax absorption occurs via adipose tissue (also called body fat). 

Individuals who have higher body fat percentages, especially individuals classified as obese, have a harder time flushing Xanax from their bodies. Those with higher body weights often maintain Xanax in bodily systems for up to twice as long as those who are of average weight.

The Liver’s Role

Since Xanax is processed by the liver and broken down into metabolites that are expelled through the kidneys, liver health has an effect on Xanax’s duration in the body. 

Those who have liver disease related to alcoholism tend to keep Xanax in their bodies for nearly double the amount of time when compared to an individual with a healthy and functioning liver. 

How Age Affects Duration

As an individual gets more advanced in age, liver and kidney functionality can change, which can certainly affect how long Xanax is present in the body. Malnutrition can also boost the duration of the presence of Xanax in the body. 

Metabolism speed can directly affect how long Xanax will remain in the body. Those with slower metabolism tend to take longer to process Xanax and other benzodiazepines from their system. Since metabolism generally slows with age, it’s common for older individuals to take longer to process Xanax and other drugs.

Quick Reference Chart for Alprazolam’s Duration in the Body

Those who use Xanax should be aware of how long it will remain in their system as well as the associated uses, dangers, and clinical considerations of benzodiazepine drugs. 

Here is a quick reference chart for how long alprazolam can be detected on specific types of drug tests:

Testing MethodDetectability Window
Blood24 Hours
Hair30–90 Days
SalivaAround 2.5 days
Urine4 days, but can detect for up to one week in heavy users

If you have been misusing Xanax, it’s a red flag. The drug should only be used with a valid prescription and according to the parameters of the prescription. If you are unable to stop on your own, reach out to an addiction treatment professional for assistance. 

Updated March 21, 2024
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