How Long Will Xanax Stay in Your System

Xanax is a prescription medication for anxiety.
Expert fact-checked

How long will Xanax stay in your system? It depends on a few factors that include the dosage of the drug that is taken and your body's own physical makeup.

Understanding Xanax

As a prescription medication, Xanax (also known as Alprazolam) is used primarily to treat anxiety, panic attacks and moderate depression associated with anxiety. The medication is prescribed for short periods of time that are usually three to four weeks in length. This drug is classified as a type of medicine called benzodiazepines. It works either as an instant release (Xanax) or extended release (Xanax XR) drug that affects the brain by offering sedative and calming properties. Most people start on a low dose of Xanax. Doctors typically monitor the drug's effectiveness and may choose to gradually increase the dosage until the correct dosage is determined. It usually takes about three to four days for the new dosage to build up in the bloodstream, so it may take several weeks of monitoring to determine the optimum dosage for a particular individual.

How Long Will Xanax Stay in Your System?

There is some debate as to how long Xanax stays in your system. First of all, it's important to note that with any drug, this answer will vary. However, there some things that can be taken into consideration. These include your:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Health status
  • Level of physical activity.

The frequency and length of time that the drug is taken are also factors that can affect the length of time a drug remains active.

For most people, Xanax peaks in the body within one to two hours of taking the drug. For Xanax XR, there is a slower absorbtion rate of five to 10 hours. However, both versions of the drug tend to remain in the body for the same amount of time. The approximate length of time is three to five days after a single dosage or with short-term use. If a person has used the drug multiple times or for a longer length of time, it could stay in the system as long as seven to ten days, but the amount of time varies. Your doctor can confirm if it is still in your system using a urine or blood test.

Withdrawl Symptoms of Xanax

Some research has shown that Xanax loses its effectiveness after eight weeks. Therefore, if you continue to keep the medication in your system, it may end up producing a negative effect due to withdrawal symptoms that may develop when the dosage is decreased.

If you are concerned about your Xanax use and plan to stop taking it, it's important to understand some of the withdrawal symptoms. Doctors strongly recommend gradually reducting use of this medication rather than stopping abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms can be mild to more severe, and they are usually exasperated if you have become dependent or addicted to the prescription drug. If you think you have formed a Xanax habit, talk to your doctor about gradually reducing the dosage to minimize the withdrawal effects. As you go off the drug, you may experience:

  • Mild mood swings or uncomfortable moods, such as sadness, anxiety, restlessness or irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Mild or major anxiety
  • Physical pain, such as abdominal and muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating or tremors
  • Seizures
  • In rare cases, suicidal thoughts or attemps


So, how long will Xanax stay in your system? As you can see, there isn't a single, definitive answer because there are many factors to consider. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks associated with your unique circumstances, and learn how to safely discontinue using Xanax when the time comes.

How Long Will Xanax Stay in Your System