How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System

If you have an anxiety or panic disorder, you are probably acquainted with Xanax. Also known as Alprazolam, the drug was patented in 1971 and approved for distribution in the United States in 1981. Shortly after the release, though, people realized they could abuse this over-the-counter drug, and the regulations tightened.


One of the reasons people abuse Xanax is because it provides a heightened sense of calm and induces relaxation. As a result, many companies include Xanax on random tests to ensure their employees are abusing the drug as a convenient coping mechanism. If you use Xanax, even with a prescription, here is everything you need to know about how it reflects when it shows up on a test.

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Does Xanax Show Up in a Urine Test?

Yes, Xanax can show up in a hair test as well as a urine test. Once you ingest Xanax, it can show up in your pee for two to seven hours. The time it takes to appear and how long it stays in your system depends on the quantity you take and the metabolism of your body.


For instance, low dosages of Xanax may only remain in the system for two to five days. The tests can detect heavy dosage for up to ten days after ingestion, though. There is a good chance that a person who takes a small amount of Xanax, has a fast metabolism, and is well-hydrated could produce a clean urine sample.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

Xanax works on the brain’s neurotransmitters [1]. The neurotransmitters are meant to provide a person with tranquility, but when this part of the brain does not work, they may instead experience fear and anxiety. Ingesting Xanax serves as a correcting mechanism for the missing calming function.


If your anxiety was a gas pedal, the Xanax would be the brakes. When someone feels an anxiety attack coming on, they can take Xanax to counteract the overwhelming feeling of the uncontrollable gas pedal. You can also think of these effects as similar to alcohol consumption, which inhibits feelings of stress and dampens receptors.


When you ingest Xanax, the compound dissolves into your bloodstream, saliva, urine, and hair. If any of these primary sources were used in a Xanax test, you would certainly test positive. The thing to remember is that each of these areas processes the drug at a different rate.


For instance, blood is the most efficient processor. It continually pulses through millions of cells every second, a fast and efficient cycle of ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ Xanax will only remain present in the bloodstream for twenty-four hours or less.


The other systems are not nearly as fast. Xanax will remain in saliva for up to two and a half days, and in urine for ten days. Hair is the rearguard with controlled substances lingering as long as ninety days in the hair follicles.


Xanax is known as a benzodiazepine [2], which is medical shorthand for a drug that treats anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol dependence. There are other benzodiazepines, such as Halcion, that are short-acting drugs compared to medications like Xanax and Valium. If you take a short-acting or intermediate-acting benzodiazepine, like Halcion or Klonopin, they will be detectable in urine for two to five days, respectively.

Other Factors To Consider

How long Xanax can be detected in urine tests depends on several factors; personal health, the quantity of dosage, and frequency of use. A favorable combination of factors will process Xanax in two days, while adverse results may mean the drug stays around for a week and a half.


Another critical factor is whether you use other drugs. Taking medications like cimetidine or ketoconazole may hinder your liver’s ability to process the drug. Other medications like Prozac can also slow down the metabolism.


It is also possible to take drugs that speed up the metabolism and process the Xanax more rapidly. For instance, carbamazepine and St. John’s Wort [3] accelerate these processes. Studies show that smokers have slightly quicker drug clearance rates than non-smokers thanks to drug interactions.


Finally, your ethnicity can influence how quickly your body processes Xanax and other drugs. People of Asian descent process the drug less efficiently, for example. Their detection windows are much longer than people of European, African, or Latin-American descent.

Final Thoughts

If you have a urine test coming up, be aware that Xanax will show up on the test results.


How long can Xanax be detected in urine tests? Even if your dosages are relatively small, it can stay in your urine for at least a few days. Heavy users of Xanax may experience positive test results for ingestion up to ten days before the test.


The likelihood of testing positive on a urine screening depends on several competing factors. Your dosage, metabolism, other medications, and even your race influence the results. The best solution is abstinence from Xanax for ten days if you are concerned about testing positive.


If you or a loved one have a problem using Xanax, seek professional treatment as soon as possible. While Xanax is considered safer than illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine, it is still highly addictive and can have long-term health consequences.


For more information on treatment, you can contact the American Addiction Centers at (888) 344-4390 or visit their site.


1. Identifying a Neurotransmitter

2. Benzodiazepines

3. St. John’s Wort and Depression: In Depth