There are quite a few reasons people might be wondering the answer to the question “where is Xanax stored in the body.”
One reason you might be wondering where is Xanax stored in the body is because you have taken the prescription drug and you want to know how long until it’s cleared from your system for a drug test. You might also be wondering because you want to know how quickly the body metabolizes it.
Xanax is the top-prescribed drug in America, and with the growth in the number of prescriptions written for it each year, Xanax abuse has become a more obvious problem as well.
Alprazolam is the generic name of Xanax, and this drug is classified as a benzodiazepine or a benzo. Benzos work on the central nervous system as a depressant, and they are used in the treatment of issues including panic and anxiety disorders. Specifically, Xanax is often prescribed for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and panic disorder.
Xanax and other benzos enhance the activity of brain neurotransmitters called GABA. GABA is meant to slow nerve activity in the brain and the body, and that’s what leads Xanax to feel calming and relaxing for people who have anxiety or panic disorders.
Xanax isn’t intended as a long-term treatment for the disorders it’s prescribed to treat because there is the potential for dependence and abuse. Rather, Xanax is meant as a short-term treatment for acute symptoms, such as the onset of a panic attack.
Because Xanax starts acting relatively quickly after it’s taken, it tends to lead to tolerance quickly, which is ultimately what contributes to dependency. It is an addictive drug as well.
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To begin, Xanax has an elimination half-life ranging anywhere from 9 to 16 hours in most healthy adults. This means that it would take the average adult around 9 to 16 hours to eliminate 50% of the Xanax they took, from their system. The average half-life is around 12 hours with Xanax. Within four days that would mean a person would have completely eliminated the Xanax from their system.
The following highlight individual features that may determine how long Xanax stays in your system:
- Individual factors: So much of how long Xanax stays in your system is determined by individual factors including your age, liver function, and metabolic rate.
- Age: If you’re younger, it may take less time for Xanax to be fully eliminated from your system because older people may have slower body functions or metabolisms.
- Body weight and fat: One of the most common questions people have regarding where Xanax is stored in the body is whether or not it’s stored in fat cells. The fast answer is yes, but we’ll discuss that a bit more below. Body weight and fat composition do play a role, however, because they influence how quickly someone could metabolize and ultimately excrete Xanax. A taller or heavier person is likely to excrete the same dose of Xanax taken by a smaller person faster because they’re taking a smaller amount in proportion to the size of their body.
As mentioned above, a common question people have about where Xanax is stored in the body is whether or not it’s stored in fat cells. Xanax can be stored in fat cells because it is fat soluble. This is something that does play a role in how it takes your body to eliminate it fully.
When someone takes benzodiazepines including Xanax, they can be ultimately be stored in body fat for a few weeks, which is why they can be detected in urine for a few weeks after the last dose of the drug is taken. This can be confusing for some people based on the half-life figures above, but when someone takes high doses of the drug or is a long-term user of the drug, there may be the potential for metabolites to be left behind which can then show up in a drug test for a longer period of time. This means that someone who has a high percentage of body fat may test positive in a urine test for Xanax use for longer than someone with a very small body fat percentage.
To sum up, all benzos including Xanax are fat-soluble to some degree, so they are broken down into your fat cells. They can be stored in fat cells, and with smaller, limited doses this is less likely to occur. When too much Xanax gradually builds in the fat cells of a person’s body, they may experience something called over-sedation with symptoms like confusion and cognitive impairment, which is just one more reason why it’s important to take Xanax only as instructed by a physician.
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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.