How Long Does Xanax Stay in your System: Urine, Saliva, Blood & Hair Alprazolam Tests

How Long Does Xanax Stay in your System: Urine, Saliva, Blood & Hair Alprazolam Tests

 We all want relief from anxiety and other mental disorders. And that is what Xanax is good at. However, how long does Xanax stay in your system to be able to be detected in urine, blood, saliva, or hair?

Xanax has a half-life of about 11 hours in healthy adults. The Alprazolam half-life ranges from 6.3 to 26.9 hours with most of the users being able to fully eliminate the drug from the system within 4 days. What the half-life means is that the medication user is able to eliminate half of the alprazolam taken from the system.

The half-life of the medication depends on the following factors:

  • Age
  • Dosage
  • Duration of use
  • Frequency of use
  • Metabolism
  • Weight
  • Your height
  • Genetics
  • Liver function
  • Kidney function
  • Urinary pH
  • The use of other drugs
  • Amount used
  • Other factors

To test for Xanax’s presence in your system, medical personnel can use blood tests, urine tests, saliva swab tests, and hair follicle analysis. These tests can show that the person used Alprazolam for up to 6 days from the time the last dose was taken.

Xanax stays in the system for up to 4 days
Half-Life for Xanax is about 11 hours (Range 6.3 to 26.9 hours
Xanax is mainly metabolized by the liver and eliminated through urine from the body
Xanax is a Benzodiazepine which affect the effect of neurotransmitter GABA


How Long Does Xanax Stay in your System

Xanax stays in the system for up to 4 days after taking the medication for anxiety and other psychiatric conditions. Thus, most users will have the drug out of their systems after 4 days. This is because Alprazolam has a half-life of about 11 hours (ranging from 6.3 to 26.9 hours) in a healthy adult. For users, it will take a blood, urine, saliva, or hair test to detect Xanax in the body system:

  • Urine tests: can be used to test for Xanax usage for up to 5-7 days after the last use.
  • Saliva tests: A saliva swab test can detect Xanax for up to 2.5 days after the last use.
  • Blood tests: A blood test can show that someone used Xanax for up to 1-6 days after the last use.
  • Hair tests: Hair follicle analysis can be used to detect Xanax 1-7 days after the last use for up to 90 days.

Xanax is an immediate-acting benzodiazepine that will give you quick relief from your anxiety and other mental conditions. However, you are likely also to lose the calming effects of the medication within approximately six hours after taking Xanax.

It is important to note that the half-life of a medication is the time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the amount of the medication taken from your system. Therefore, it takes 5.5 times the half-life for the body to eliminate almost all of the medication that was taken.

The half-life of Xanax places it right in the middle of the rate of elimination from the body when compared with other benzodiazepines- Alprazolam, lorazepam, and temazepam all have a medium-term half-life. This is because we have short-acting benzos like clorazepate, midazolam, and triazolam. Clonazepam, diazepam, and flurazepam are long-acting benzodiazepines.

  • Short-acting Benzodiazepines: Have a median elimination half-life of 1-12 hours including Oxazepam, Clorazepate, Midazolam, and Triazolam.
  • Intermediate-acting Benzos: Have an average elimination half-life of 12-40 hours such as Chlordiazepoxide, Alprazolam, Lorazepam, and Clonazepam
  • Long-acting Benzos: Have an average elimination half-life of 40-250 hours including clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam, and Flurazepam

 All benzo products affect the effect of neurotransmitter GABA which regulates mood, sleep, and pain. To do this, all Benzos bind to the GABA-benzodiazepine receptor complex thus enabling you to easily get improved function as a result of the reduction of anxiety symptoms.

Xanax for anxiety disorders

The half-life of Xanax XR

Xanax XR is an extended-release tablet form of Xanax. The extended-release tablets share the same absorption, bioavailability, and pharmacokinetics properties as the standard-release formulation of alprazolam.

Therefore, the mean plasma elimination half-life of alprazolam once you have taken the XANAX XR Tablet formulation ranges from 10.7–15.8 hours in healthy adults. The half-life average remains 11 hours for the Xanax XR but it takes longer for the body to fully eliminate the medication from the system. Thus it takes 6 days for Xanax XR to be fully eliminated from the body system.

It is important to note that Xanax XR is quickly absorbed in the morning as compared to when the dosing is done in the evening. This means that you will get quicker relief from anxiety and other emotional disorders when Xanax is taken in the morning.

Xanax Immediate-Release (IR) Half-Life

The alprazolam IR oral tablets should be taken by mouth. When taken, immediate-release (IR) tablets release all their content into the body all at once as compared to slow-release tablets. The medication is effective for the short-term management of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorders.

The half-life of  Xanax immediate-release (IR) is about 11 hours for a healthy adult. However, this may vary for older adults whose half-life is about 16 hours. Therefore, when taken it will take a dose of Xanax IR about 56 hours (more than 2 days) to be eliminated from your system.

Therefore, it will take an average healthy adult 11 hours to remove half of the dose of Xanax from the body. Alprazolam elimination follows the liver-urine elimination route. It is mainly metabolized (broken down) in the liver and then eliminated from the body through urine.

Thus, it takes around 11 hours for a healthy adult to metabolize and remove about half of the medication through urine. The half-life can be increased by advanced age, obesity, and poor liver function. Therefore, these people take longer to fully eliminate Xanax from their system.

The half-life of Xanax vs Ativan

When it comes to the management of anxiety disorders and other psychiatric conditions, Ativan (lorazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) always come to mind. The two Benzodiazepines are effective with a short period of improvement in the symptoms. The half-life of these two medications is almost similar.

The half-life of Ativan is around 12 hours while the half-life of Xanax is around 11 hours. Thus, the body removes Ativan at a slower pace as compared to Xanax thus giving it more time to relieve your anxiety symptoms. It takes 18 hours for half of Ativan and its byproducts to be eliminated from the body.

Unlike Xanax, there is no Extended Release (ER) version of Ativan. This is because the medication has a longer half-life thus eliminating the need for an extended-release formulation. Even though the effects of the two medications may be varied, we can not conclusively state that one is better than the other.

Therefore, the choice of medication for your anxiety disorder or other psychiatric disorder depends on your symptoms and medical history. Moreover, the doctor will check if you have any other conditions that can influence the choice of medication.

The FDA originally approved Ativan in 1977. The medication is effective for different psychiatric disorders. It is important to note that 1 mg of Ativan is equivalent to 0.5 mg of Xanax. The two medications should not be taken together because their mode of action and side effects is almost a replica of the other.

Finally, both Ativan and Xanax are habit-forming. Therefore, they should not be taken or dosage increased without consulting your doctor. The medications also have withdrawal effects when stopped cold turkey.

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last: Alprazolam Withdrawal Symptoms, Signs, and Treatment Options

Xanax Abuse

The medication is a high-potency benzodiazepine meaning that it has a high potential for abuse by people looking to easily get high. The following are the effects that people abuse Xanax for:

  • Being talkative: The medication can give you the confidence to talk especially for people with social anxiety since it calms judgmental feelings.
  • Decreased awareness: Due to the calmness and drowsy feeling, it is likely for people to abuse Xanax in order to decrease their awareness.
  • Deep sleep: Xanax and all other Benzo products will leave you drowsy and sleepy. Some people will abuse Xanax to get a deep sleep and escape from reality.
  • Detachment from yourself or your body: This is one of the reasons why people would abuse Xanax. Xanax gives you a feeling of being detached from your body. It is a high feeling that most people who abuse drugs look for.
  • Feelings of unreality: The feeling of unreality is closely related to being detached from your body. People who abuse the medication can do so to get the feeling of unreality.
  • Having visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations: The other main reason for abuse is sensory hallucinations. It influences the way your body thinks thus giving you a high.
  • Increased interest in sex: Another reason for abuse is the increased interest in sexual activity. While some people suffer from a lower interest in sex, the medication can increase the urge for sex markedly.
  • Lack of feeling or emotion: Xanax can numb your feelings or emotions. It is one of the other main reasons why users may want to abuse the medication.
  • Lightheadedness: The medication will give you a feeling of being woozy or you might faint. Thus users may take the medication to feel unbalanced or have a cloudy vision.
  • Relaxation and calmness: The medication calms your nerves. This is an effect that some users can abuse the medication for.


We have discussed how long Xanax stays in your system being about 4 days since the date and time the last dosage was taken for a healthy average adult. This is because Xanax has a half-life of about 11 hours.

Moreover, we have compared the half-life of Xanax with other Benzodiazepines. This will enable you to know how long each medication you are taking will be eliminated from the system.

Finally, there is potential for abuse of Xanax being a short-acting medication, and with effects that can get you high. Thus, it is important to ensure that you take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.


Dr. David Barlow

David is a well-known researcher and author in the anxiety disorders area with extensive research on their etiology, nature, and treatment. He started the site to share his real-life experiences on the management of anxiety disorders with successful diagnosis and treatment being his motivation to write or review the content on this site.