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How long do benzos stay in your system?

How long do benzos stay in your system?

Benzos are one of the most powerful tranquilizer sedatives prescribed by doctors. As a central nervous system depressant, benzodiazepine can be highly effective.   But benzos vary in terms of uses, active times and addictive qualities.   Ativan versus Xanax.    So how long, in general, do the effects of benzodiazepine last? And when do benzos leave the body? More on benzodiazepine half life, detection times and addiction liability here.

How do you take Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are usually taken orally, but intravenous injection is possible after preparing a solution from crushed tablets. Commercially available liquid forms can also be injected, and gel forms can be rectally administered.

What are Benzos used for?

Medically, benzodiazepines are prescribed to induce sleep, relieve anxiety, to sedate, treat muscle spasms and prevent seizures. Benzos can also be prescribed during alcohol withdrawal or used to treat anxiety related disorders of the GI tract. Recreationally, people take benzodiazepines for sedative effect or to enhance the effects of alcohol or opioids.

Peak levels and half life of Benzodiazepines

Peak levels and drug half life of benzos depend upon the particular drug prescribed, dosage, interval between doses, and route of administration. Longer half-life benzodiazepines have a more sustained effect, although some may accumulate. In general, benzos can be divided into these three categories:

1. Ultra short acting benzos – The half-life of ultra short acting benzodiazepines is less than 5 hours. These drugs are essentially non-accumulating.

2. Short acting and intermediate benzos – This class of benzodiazepines have half-life values from 5-24 hours and can be dosed more frequently. Accumulation during multiple dosage is less extensive than with the long-acting group, and diminishes as the half-life becomes shorter.

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3. Long acting benzos – Long acting benzodiazepines have half-life values usually exceeding 24 hours. Drugs in this category have long acting pharmacologically active metabolites which accumulate extensively during multiple dosage.

Benzodiazepine drug testing

Benzodiazepines are now part of most routine drug screening procedures. Most standard drug screens are usually unable to distinguish between different benzodiazepines. Since a number of benzodiazepines share common pathways of metabolism it is not possible to test for the abuse of specific benzodiazepines such as diazepam or temazepam. It is also difficult for drug tests to detect ‘low’ dose benzodiazepine use.

Testing cutoff concentrations for benzodiazepine are at 200 ng/mL. So how long do benzos stay in the body?  Benzodiazepine can be detected up to 30 days in urine although chronic use (1+ years) can be detected 4–6 weeks after last dose in urine. Benzos can also be detected in serum and plasma for 12 hours to 2 days after last dose.

Benzos and addiction

Do you have a problems with Benzodiazepines? If you think that you have a problem (with any chemical or drug), you probably do.  And some benzodiazepines are more addictive than others (the addiction potential Valium, for example, depends upon WHY you are taking it).  In fact, once you are ready to face potential addiction to drugs, help is available. If you think that you are addicted to benzos, please email us or write us a comment below. We would love to hear from you and are here to help you get treatment.

Reference sources: U.S. Department of Justice Drug Testing in a Drug Court Environment: Common issues to address
Education In Palliative And End-Of-Life Care For Oncology Self-Study on Anxiety
Benzodiazepines: A Summary of Pharmacokinetic Properties

Photo credit: Divine Harvester

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26 Responses to “How long do benzos stay in your system?
3:42 pm June 26th, 2012

I would like to know if you recommend Narcotics Anonymous? I have stopped taking drugs for 3 months because of employer drug testing but staying off is very difficult. Please advise.

7:34 pm June 26th, 2012

Hello Jake. From personal experience, Narcotics Anonymous can be helpful. The 12 steps are a great way to live life. But there are other options for help for drug addiction via support groups. You can check out SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, LifeRing, Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), or Moderation Management. Each has their own program for drug recovery.

John H. Kohlenberg
12:32 am August 25th, 2012

I am down to taking a chip in the morning and a chip in the afternoon of lorazapam. I want off this drug. How long will it take to feel normal again, and loose that shaky feelings. The chips are probably
.0125 mg apiece. It is half of one quarter of a pill. I am very strong willed and with the lords help I am determined to get off this drug. Today is Friday, and I took the last chip about 2 p.m. Will I have releif by Monday morning. I will await your reply.

1:45 pm September 5th, 2012

Hi John. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can quite difficult and experts suggest that you do so under medical supervision. The symptoms are similar to those experienced when withdrawing from opioids, but can be more intense and last longer. Nonetheless, benzodiazepine withdrawal depends on the amount of the medication taken, the length of time a person has been taking the medication, and the type of medication. People taking short-acting benzodiazepines experience withdrawal symptoms sooner than people taking the longer acting ones.

The withdrawal from benzodiazepines can mimic an anxiety attack. You may experience muscle twitching and seizures. Seizures related to benzodiazepine withdrawal typically last 30 seconds
to a couple of minutes.

I cannot say whether or not these withdrawal symptoms will resolve within a few days, or not. How are you doing today, for example? Do you need any more suggestions or advice?

4:47 pm September 28th, 2012

How long does Xanax stay in your urine

2:57 pm October 17th, 2012

Hi Renee. Traces of Xanax can be detected in urine for at least one (1) week after last use, and up to six (6) weeks for heavy use. More information here:

7:44 am September 2nd, 2014

I have been taking activan for six years I have only been taking one miligrsm a day. I am trying to wesn myself off of them I am taking a half tab now. I just hopes this works.

4:35 am November 18th, 2014

Hello, I’ve been taking 1 clonazepam 1mg a day for 3 months now. I haven’t take any for 2 days. How long will it take before I will be able to pass a urine test. I’m looking to better my life and I have possible job interview in the next couple of weeks. Is there anything I can do to speed the removal of this from my system. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

1:30 pm November 24th, 2014

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine. They actually can be detectable in urine for approximately 6 weeks after last dosing. Of course, this is not a rule and is dependent on many factors.

7:26 am April 8th, 2015

My sister weaned of Temazepam 2-3 weeks ago, but she is doing horribly. The drug really affected her mind. She cannot form complete sentences, usually, and when she does, they don’t make sense. She doesn’t understand the simplest things explained to her. She asks the same questions over and over. She is having hallucinations and body jerks. She was taking it for sleep, but the doctor left her on it for over 6 years. How long will she continue to be this way? Is this “dementia” permanent?

4:51 pm April 15th, 2015

Hi Kim. The brain is a self healing organ and tends to return to homeostasis. Now, her whole organism is trying to adjust to functioning without the drug. So, it will take time before she starts feeling better. I suggest she sees a doctor to help establish a more accurate diagnosis and adequate treatment if needed. Unfortunately, some side-effects may have a long-term impact on patients after being used for such a long time.

12:22 pm May 29th, 2015

I have a urine on 6_10 I took 2blue xannax how long will it take to get out my system so I pass

5:08 pm June 22nd, 2015

I am detoxing off of klonapin how long will it take. Im very sick. Also can you tell me if it is short or ling acting? Is there anyway i can flush it out of my system quicker?

5:15 pm June 22nd, 2015

Please help me ive been taking 2 to 4 mg of klonapin daily for the past three years. Now i am unable toget them. Can u help me as im very very sick. Please help. Deborah Mandley

10:59 am June 24th, 2015

Hello Deborah. Many doctors do not have experience with long term, chronic use and withdrawal from benzos. Check out the Ashton Manual here:

5:01 pm June 27th, 2015

I have taken xan for about 2yrs because of panic attacks. I am now on probation and the jugde does not want meon it. So i havet taken any in about a month and a half. I am really having a problem however. I keep having panic attacks and feel like im going to die. My question is.. Is there anything that can help with these and not get in trouble ?

10:47 pm July 28th, 2015

My husband just failed a drug test for Benzodiazepines and got out of the hospital last Sunday and the drug test person said it gets out of your system in one day. Can I use the information on this website to show the cps workers that he is wrong. My husband doesn’t do pills and I think that’s messed up that we might loss our kid because of the information he gave about it being out of your system in one day

2:27 pm August 1st, 2015

I took 1 benzo 10 mg how long will that stay in my system

7:18 am August 15th, 2015

I was taking up to 50mg a day which just stopped on Monday and Jesus I am suffering. Due to how much ot what I was taking my memory is shot. I think I’m about the 5fh day and physically but I think due to cocaine as well. About three months I was daily 50mg and before about 20mg for at least six months. I heard the second withdrawal can be worse and I just feel no better and the Dr won’t give me anything but advice. How long can I feel poorly for it was about a week last time but wasn’t as bad for as long.

9:52 pm October 9th, 2015

Hi I have been on clonzepam for 12 years. I have stopped taking it for 5 days now. I am having a really hard time, but am determined to get off this medication. How long will I have side effects? Thank you.

12:18 am October 12th, 2015

I would like to know after the last time I take a benzo Xanax or Clonopin will be detectable in my bloodstream what’s the longest day you can be detected can send me a give me some kind of appropriate answer

3:46 am October 17th, 2015

Want to know how long itll take valium & serepax to leave systems completely as require a serum & ? Urine test for work. Would go on occasional bender taking from 4-30. Ta.

3:03 pm November 4th, 2015

Hi Betty. Did you consult with a doctor before stopping use? Stopping cold turkey is not recommended with benzodiazepines, especially if they’ve been taken for a long period of time. Instead, you should have reduced doses gradually and slowly over the period of several months before finally quitting use completely. You can expect to feel the unwanted effects for a longer period of time, as your brain takes a long time to recover and return to homeostasis. I suggest you check out the Ashton Manual that is the “Bible” of most benzo users who want to get off of their medication. I also suggest you read an interview we did with Dr. Jennifer Leigh who has recovered from clonazepam use herself.

4:29 pm November 4th, 2015

Hi Steven. Xanax and Klonopin (Clonazepam) usually stay in the blood for several days, but exactly how long they stays in the blood can vary. Depending on frequency and length of use, you might want to wait for 3 days before drug testing (for an infrequent user) up to 4-6 weeks for a chronic user.

5:12 am November 26th, 2015

OK I hurt my knee went to ER got medication for Oxycontin and I took one 3 days ago , how long does it stay in my urine?
And I took one ativan as well for anxiety and I want to no how long it stays in my system …How long does it takes to come out my body ??

7:21 pm November 26th, 2015

Hello Jassica. Oxycontin can be detected in urine for 1-3 days, while Ativan doesn’t clear the body as quickly as oxycontin. In fact, Ativan can be found in urine up to 6 weeks. But, all of this depends on many things like the dosage, duration of intake, metabolism, etc.

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