Xanax is the brand name of alprazolam and it is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine drug. Benzodiazepine medications are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that manage a variety of conditions, including anxiety disorders, insomnia, panic disorders, and seizure disorders. Xanax misuse is very dangerous because it causes impaired coordination, excessive fatigue and it has a risk for physical dependence that causes withdrawal reactions, including seizures.

Due to the high risks associated with Xanax misuse, drug tests are commonly used by doctors, employers and law enforcement to identify Xanax misuse. The presence of Xanax in the body can be detected through the following tests:

  • Urine: In urine, Xanax can be detected within hours of use and up to 5 days after use
  • Hair: Xanax can be detected in hair for up to 90 days after last use
  • Blood: In blood, Xanax can be detected within one hour of use and up to 5 days after use
  • Saliva: In saliva, Xanax can be detected immediately after use and up to 2.5 days after use
  • Breast milk: Xanax can be detected in breast milk within one hour of use and up to 3 days after use, but Xanax is not recommended for use in nursing mothers

Understanding how long Xanax stays in your system can be helpful when evaluating treatment plans for Xanax addiction and Xanax withdrawal. However, treatment for Xanax addiction should always be guided by trained medical professionals.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax addiction, intervention during the early stages of addiction and proper treatment are important for a successful path to recovery.  

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System by Bar or MG?

Xanax is available commercially in immediate-release dosages and extended-release (XR) dosages.

The immediate-release doses of Xanax that are available are 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg. The immediate-release dosages are more commonly prescribed and misused because they are quickly absorbed into the body and take action sooner than the XR products. Common street names for Xanax include bar, Xanax bars or bricks because the 2 mg tablets are shaped like a bar with scored lines to be broken into smaller dosages.

Xanax Half-Life

Many people wonder, “How long does Xanax 2 mg and 1 mg stay in your system?” or ask “How long does 0.25 mg Xanax stay in your system?” or search online for “How long do Xanax bars stay in your system?” The answers depend on the elimination half-life of Xanax.

The elimination half-life of Xanax is the amount of time that it takes to reduce the level of the drug by half. Elimination half-life is related to metabolism, or the break-down of the medication in the body. It is commonly accepted that it takes four to five half-lives for a medication to be completely removed from the body after the last use. Even though the dosage may affect the concentration of the drug in the body, it generally does not affect the elimination half-life, unless the dosage is so high that it slows down the body’s metabolism process.

Clinical trials have found that the average elimination half-life of Xanax is about 11.2 hours, with a range of 6.3-26.9 hours, depending on how quickly or slowly an individual’s metabolism process is. Based on the math, the average amount of time for Xanax to stay in the body is about 50 hours (just over two days), with a range of about 28-121 hours (about one day to five days). The exact amount of time will vary from person to person and can be affected by multiple factors. When evaluating the presence of Xanax in the body with a drug test, the type of test used affects the quantity of time that the presence of Xanax is detectable.

Xanax and Urine

If you are about to take a drug test, you might wonder, “How long does Xanax stay in your urine test?”

Urine drug screens are commonly used to determine if certain medications or illicit drugs are present in the body at the time of the test. Because Xanax and its break-down products (also called metabolites) are primarily eliminated from the body through urine, Xanax is detectable in urine samples for up to five days after the last use.

Xanax and Hair

People might wonder how long does Xanax stay in your hair samples, especially prior to a drug screening. Using hair samples to evaluate the presence of a medication or drug in the body is very useful because, although it cannot provide an exact amount of drug that was or is in the body, it can provide proof that a person used or was exposed to the drug. Xanax can be detected in scalp hair as soon as one to seven days and up to 90 days after the last use.

Xanax and Blood

Urine and hair samples are two types of drug tests, but how long does Xanax stay in your bloodstream? Blood toxicology screens are commonly done in the hospital setting to determine the presence and concentration of the drug(s) in the body.

This type of test is commonly performed if an overdose is suspected. After taking Xanax by mouth, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, with the highest concentration occurring within one to two hour after use. Blood tests can determine the concentration of Xanax in the body within one hour of use and for up to about five days after use. 

Xanax and Saliva

For people who are wondering how long does Xanax stay in your saliva, saliva drug screenings are becoming increasingly more popular with more advanced tests available because these tests are quick and non-invasive.

These tests are the preferred screening method in situations when a rapid result is useful, such as at workplaces where drug use would affect safety and for roadside screening by law enforcement for impaired drivers. Xanax can be detected in saliva immediately after use and up to two and a half days after use, with longer detection windows possible when high doses are taken.

Xanax and Breast Milk

Is Xanax present in the breast milk of nursing mothers? The answer is usually yes. Xanax can be detected in breast milk within one hour of use and for up to three days after use.

Infants exposed to Xanax through breast milk have shown symptoms of withdrawal when breastfeeding was finished. These symptoms include irritability, fussiness, crying and sleep disturbances. Xanax is not recommended for use in nursing mothers and it is recommended that nursing not be considered by mothers who must take Xanax.

How Long Will Xanax Show on a Drug Test?

When evaluating the presence of Xanax in the body with a drug test, the type of test used affects the quantity of time that the presence of Xanax is detectable. However, the unique factors affecting an individual’s rate of metabolism of Xanax are also critical. The rate of metabolism is dependent on many factors. Some factors are modifiable, or changeable, and others are not.

Factors That Affect How Long Xanax Stays in Your System

Factors that affect how long Xanax stays in your system include:

  • Dosage: Higher dosages may clog up the body’s elimination processes, resulting in a slower metabolism
  • Age: Older patients have a slower metabolism
  • Weight: Obese patients have a slower metabolism
  • Race: Asian patients have a slower metabolism
  • Disease: Disease states such as alcoholism, decreased liver function and decreased kidney function will result in a slower metabolism
  • Cigarette smoking: Smokers tend to have faster metabolism compared to non-smokers

Xanax and Weight

Xanax is stored in the fat cells of the body, which explains why weight is a critical factor when determining how long Xanax stays in your system. During clinical trials, it was found that obese patients have an average half-life of alprazolam of about 10.6 hours with a range between 9.9 and 40.4 hours.

Based on the four or five half-lives needed for complete drug elimination, it is estimated that Xanax is present in the body of an obese patient from nearly two days to almost eight days after the last use, which is almost double the range for patients who have a normal weight.

Getting Help: Xanax Abuse

Xanax misuse is very dangerous because it causes impaired coordination, excessive fatigue and has a high risk for physical dependence causing withdrawal reactions, including seizures.

Understanding how long Xanax stays in your system can be helpful when evaluating treatment plans for Xanax addiction and Xanax withdrawal. However, treatment for Xanax addiction should always be guided by trained medical professionals.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax addiction, intervention during the early stages of addiction and proper treatment are important for a successful path to recovery.

Key Points: How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System

Some important points to keep in mind with regard to how long Xanax stays in your system are:

  • Xanax misuse is very dangerous because it causes impaired coordination, excessive fatigue and has a high risk for physical dependence causing withdrawal reactions, including seizures
  • Drug tests are commonly used by doctors, employers and law enforcement to identify Xanax misuse
  • The presence of Xanax in the body can be detected through the following tests: urine, hair, blood, saliva and breast milk
  • A person’s individual rate of metabolism of Xanax is the most important factor in determining how long Xanax stays in your system
  • The rate of metabolism of Xanax is affected by multiple factors, including dosage of Xanax, age of patient, weight of patient, race of patient, other disease states and cigarette smoking