How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?
Xanax belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Also known as ‘benzos’, these drugs are not tested for in standard 5-panel drug tests. But 10-panel drug tests do include them.
These extended tests are often conducted on people whose jobs demand a clear head. For example, those in law enforcement, the medical profession, government employees and drivers. They can also be administered to victims of sexual assault to check if the perpetrator used a tranquilizer.
Brain effects occur within an hour of taking Xanax. But Xanax stays in the body long after its effects wear off. If you’re new to taking Xanax or concerned about an upcoming test, here’s what you need to know.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Lab Tests?
When it comes to how long Xanax is detectable in lab tests, it depends on the type of screening done. Different biological samples have different windows of detection.
As you’ll see below, hair can show drug use for the longest amount of time. Blood and saliva tests tend to have shorter windows of detection. This is why they need to be administered soon after any suspected drug use.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your Urine?
Xanax breaks down and metabolites leave the body via urine for the most part. The drug is detectable in urine up to a week after it is taken. It’s important to remember that the window of detection can be longer depending on individual factors such as how heavy consumption is.
Urine tests are the most common form of drug testing and they’re relatively inexpensive.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your Blood?
Blood tests are used when a person appears to be actively under the influence of substances, or in the event of an overdose. About an hour or two after ingestion, Xanax reaches peak levels in the blood and the drug can be found in blood up to five days after consumption. This is certainly the case where consumption is excessive.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your Saliva?
Xanax can be found in saliva within an hour of consumption. And it’s detectable for up to two and a half days where use is heavy. Oral fluid tests are sometimes used after workplace accidents, for example, when there is reasonable suspicion of recent drug use.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your Hair?
For hair tests in general, a three-month window of detection applies. Drugs become a part of hair cells so follicle tests are the only tests which can find repeated drug use.
Substances can be detectable in hair samples after about a week of consumption. That’s how long it usually takes for new hair growth to surface. Body hair growth is slower. So traces of Xanax could, in fact, be found in body hair around a year after use.
To summarize, Xanax can typically be detected within these periods of time:
- blood – up to 5 days
- saliva – up to 2.5 days
- urine – up to about 7 days
- hair – up to 3 months
Be aware that medicines such as Zoloft can cause false positives on benzodiazepine tests.
And if you have a prescription for Xanax, you must alert your employer or the testing body so your results can be properly analyzed.
Can You Detox From Xanax Faster?
Xanax has an average half-life of about 11 hours. It takes this amount of time for half the drug to leave the system. And it takes another 11 hours for half of what’s left to leave. This process continues for four or five half-lives until the substance is completely eliminated. So, if you do the math, it takes at least two days after the last time taken for Xanax to be expelled. This is the same for both males and females.
How long detox takes depends on other factors that are not the same for everyone.
- Age – the half-life for Xanax is longer in the elderly
- Weight – obesity can more than triple the half-life of Xanax
- General health
- Genetics – Asian people usually take longer to detox from Xanax than Caucasians
- Hydration levels
- Duration of use
- Frequency of use
- The presence of other substances in the system
- Smoking status – the half-life of Xanax is 50% shorter in smokers than in non-smokers
Your liver and kidneys are your detox organs. If they’re impaired, it will take your body longer to get rid of substances.
Birth control pills also slow down detox slightly. This happens because they lower the activity of the liver enzyme which processes Xanax.
A healthy lifestyle including nutritious foods, regular exercise and good sleep can help with optimal detox. But there isn’t much a person can do to speed up the process.
Certain medications for other conditions may speed up detox minimally. These include rifampin and carbamazepine. The herb St. John’s Wort can also make the detox time a little shorter. Taking these drugs without medical supervision is strongly discouraged.
Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
Xanax is a habit-forming drug. If you or someone you know is struggling with dependence and improper use of Xanax, help is available. Treatment programs can support you through detox and its serious withdrawal symptoms, such as potential seizures.
Rehab includes care at the hands of qualified health professionals. Many users are able to quit Xanax within two months of tapering doses. Abruptly stopping consumption can be very dangerous.
Addicts can access cognitive behavioral therapists. Therapists are addiction experts who address the root causes of substance abuse. They also share techniques for managing cravings and responding to stress. Treatment is holistic and can include family therapy. Doctors also look at alternative medications in cases where Xanax was prescribed for mental health issues.
Up to a quarter of benzodiazepine users experience protracted withdrawal where symptoms last for a year or more. This makes links to after-care and outpatient services crucial.
Contact Recovering Champions today to discuss the best options for you. Sobriety and a healthier, happier life is within reach.
Recovering Champions Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.