How long do benzos stay in your system?
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.
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