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How long does Xanax last?

The effects of Xanax (alprazolam) don’t last long – about 4 hours. This is why Xanax is not always the drug of choice for treating chronic anxiety disorders. More here on Xanax’s duration of action, as well as effects on the body. We invite your questions about Xanax at the end.

Xanax effects on the body and brain

Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Xanax is a central nervous system depressant and works as a benzodiazepine. But how does Xanax work in the body and brain?

Benzodiazepines are thought to exert their effects by binding at stereospecific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system. Their exact mechanism of action is unknown. Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis.

Xanax effects on the body can include:

  • dizziness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • irritability
  • joint pain
  • nausea
  • talkativeness

Xanax duration of action

The half-life of Xanax is a lengthy 11 hours. Xanax reaches peak levels in the blood within 2 hours. However, despite taking several days to leave the body, the effects of Xanax tend to wear off after about 4 hours, so it may need to be taken several times throughout the day.

Xanax time in the body

How long Xanax stays in the body is rather long, relative to other drugs.  For example, other drug metabolize and leave the blood within a few hours; Xanax leaves the blood after several days. Furthermore, Xanax is detectable in urine for at least a week after last dose. With chronic or heavy use, Xanax can still be detected a month and a half after the last dose taken.

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How long do Xanax effects last

The effects of Xanax don’t last long. Typically Xanax effects will only last about 4 hours. This is why it’s not always the drug of choice for treating chronic anxiety disorders.

How long does a Xanax high last

Self-reported accounts give the length of an Xanax high as about 4-5 hours. This is about the same length of time for its therapeutic effects.

Xanax high effects

Taking Xanax to get high can occur, but getting high on Xanax is rather rare.  People take Xanax to get high and report feeling calm and sleepy with less tension than before. However, these drowsy, relaxed feelings tend to go away as the body becomes drug-tolerant. In fact, when taken to try to achieve a euphoric high or for long periods of time, Xanax can become addictive.

How long Xanax lasts questions

Do you still have questions about how long Xanax lasts? Please leave your questions, comments and experiences below. We will do our best to respond to you ASAP, or to refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: The Partnership for a Drug Free America: Getting High on Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs Is Dangerous
PubMed Health: Alprazolam
Drug Enforcement Administration: Benzodiazepines
elaws – Drug-Free Workplace Advisor

Photo credit: indrarado

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49 Responses to “How long does Xanax last?
Jeanna
5:25 am January 21st, 2014

I was hospitalized for pancreatitis for a week. I received only fluids for the first few days. This cleaned out my whole system. I have been taking .05 mg of Xanax 3 x daily for 6 years. I take it for panic/anxiety. Can it be possible that they wiped out a good amount of the drug in my system because now I am having panic and an elevated heart rate. I had to start taking another pill to try to curb the anxiety attacks that are coming on even though I am taking my meds at the same rate as before my hospitalization. I think that the ‘stored’ amount in my system has been wiped out? Have you ever heard of this? Thank you in advance for your time.

Cara Provost
4:31 pm November 21st, 2014

I have been diagnosed with PTSS for several years now, my husband literally put a gun to his head and i had to watch him blow the back of his head off so my doctor has always ranked me on a scale 1-10 im a definite 10+, i am currently perscribed 3 of the 1 mg xanax a day but considering that i have been taking that amount for so long as we all know our tolerance gets higher and higher, so i have recently been getting extras from a friend and now im a little worried because my doctor does check my levels to see how much xanax i have taken threwout the month, i have an appointment in about 12 days, what can i do to get my levels back down to where they are suppose to be?? I am currently trying to wean myself back down to my normal amount but im not sure if it will be down by the time i have to go back to see him, can anyone tell me how i can get my levels down or how long will it take for them to drop if i do start taking my normal dose, thanks in advance!!! Cara P.

Donna
12:59 am February 1st, 2015

My son has taken 22 mgs in three days how long will the high last and the urge for more?

12:22 pm February 2nd, 2015

Hi Donna. That’s a lot of Xanax and you should take your son to the doctor’s. On the long run, he can benefit from an addiction counsellor or sessions with a psychologist.

nick
9:23 pm February 19th, 2015

Donna you’re a mom, and talking about your son being high on a drug witch withdrawals can kill you! GET YOUR SH*T TOGETHER FOR F*CKS SAKE AND HELP HIM!

Terry
1:17 pm April 1st, 2015

My Mother is taking .5 Xanax each night at 7:30 to sleep and she just recently had a stroke , the rehab wants her off of it because they believe it is impeding her progress she is 86 yrs. old. Do u think the Xanax is to much in her system

droneman
5:23 pm April 27th, 2015

Donna, he’ll be fine. I’ve Taken far more with out a tollerence. Although watch him a little closer for the signs of abuse. Lethargy, memory loss, ect. Nick is obviously a douche and doesn’t have children if his own or at least doesnt live in an urban area, because I find these extremely easy to find and they are cheap.

12:59 pm May 8th, 2015

Hi Terry. Doses of a medication work differently in different people. If you are doubting the decision of the doctors in the clinic, you can ask for a second opinion. If they are suggesting she stops taking the Xanax, I believe there is a genuine medical reason for it.

dee
5:53 pm May 8th, 2015

I had to do a swab test but I haven’t took my xanax for few day well it show up

Sandy
5:56 pm May 10th, 2015

What if you took a xanax pill but dont like the effect will a glass of milk stop the high or what can u do to stop the high

Captain Nemo
4:04 am May 13th, 2015

You might mention what the concentration of xanax is in the blood after 1 half-life; 2 half lives ,etc. A graph would be nice.

Marcela
7:23 pm May 13th, 2015

I have been taken Xanax to sleep, 0.5 mg, but it does not work any more than 3-4 hours. Is it OK to take another 0.5 mg in the middle of the night? I don’t take it during the day, only at night.

1:09 pm May 14th, 2015

Hi Captain Nemo. I believe you can find the specific information you are interested in our article about How long does Xanax stay in your system – Xanax half-life

Toni
5:37 pm June 12th, 2015

In the article you stated “The effects of Xanax don’t last long – about 4 hours. This is why Xanax is not always the drug of choice for treating chronic anxiety disorders.”
What IS the drug of choice then? One that lasts longer than only 4 hours … Thanks!

Ashley
6:07 am June 15th, 2015

My bf started taking xanax about 4 days ago he can’t really talk like slurred words and forgetful hes also off balance and tired I’m worried about him can anybody tell me if this is normal or should i take him to the er BTW they gave him this med because he has schizophrenia so to calm down nervousness

6:53 pm June 18th, 2015

Hi Toni. Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug, and besides benzodiazepine medications, doctors also prescribe antidepressants and beta-blockers in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Xanax is a short acting drug. If you are looking for more long-acting benzodiazepines the list includes, Librax (half-life 30-100h), Valium (half-life 20-100h), Tranxene T-Tab (half-life 20-100h), and others.

John
11:02 pm August 6th, 2015

Hi there, I am a very nervous flyer and I took .25mg of xanax bout two hours before the flight. Then of course not thinking i was working I got drunk on beer during the flight. After the 8 hour flight a lay over of two hoirs I took another .25mg and again on the plane had lots of beers until we landed.
Now 2 full days later I feel terrible, chest pains, insomina, stomach cramps etc.
Question is when will this pain stop ?
I m sure the alcohol and the xanax has left my system by now.
When will I return to normal ?
No chance of dying now as when I read some of the questions and replies it scares me.
Never Ever again will I mix the two.
Thanks J

Joe
5:44 pm August 29th, 2015

Thank you! This really helped.

Joe
5:55 pm August 29th, 2015

John, I was on 32 mgs of xan and i was drinking too . When ur on xanax and u brink alcohol it extremely enhances the effect s of the xanax.I need up crashing into a burger king and don’t remember any of it yet alone the rest of the week basically so my advice to u would be do either/or not both

Amanda g
12:49 pm September 22nd, 2015

I got diagnosed with post partum depression after I had my baby girl in march and I also developed anxiety.so my dr. Prescribed me .25mg but that doesn’t do anything. I have a high tolerance so she gve me 1mg but that doesn’t help me either. I still hve episodes in public places. Should I ask top up it? I wanna be able to enjoy going out in public wit my kids who are 10,9,6 and 6 months. What should I do? ?
Needing help…

Ron
1:56 am September 30th, 2015

very nervous giving a speech at my hall of fame induction before 400 people this thursday. Will and how will .25 Xanax help me or will I feel too high or drowsy during my speech. Is there any help for speech anxiety??? Ron

Rox
5:43 am October 19th, 2015

my son passed away very recently. His Xanax level was 0.03 mg/ml. This doesn’t look high and there was no alcohol in his system. Does it seem high to you.

5:40 pm November 9th, 2015

Hi Rox. I am very sorry for your loss! I believe these are the results of a toxicology report and I also think it would be better to ask the professionals at the laboratory whether this was the cause of death or something else.

Pedro
12:46 am November 28th, 2015

For how long does alprazolam keeps blocking your central nervous system and/or keeps your mind calm and/or keep away your negative thoughts.

8:24 pm December 2nd, 2015

Hi, Pedro. Usually, the effects of alprazolam can last up to 4 hours.

ron
3:51 am January 1st, 2016

Can you get a high 12.hrs after 12hrs after your last dosage

ros
4:39 am January 18th, 2016

I took 2 xanax at 11am then 2 more at 5 then 2 more at 8pm. Will i get the same side afects

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
7:08 pm January 18th, 2016

Hi, Ros. If you don’t feel well, call 911 ASAP.

AUSbro
1:09 am January 25th, 2016

Got my hands on some 2mg bars of Xanax and tried them for a first timer on the weekend. No alcohol at all because I felt like shit from the night before, was chilling with friends all night and at 12:30am decided to do half (1mg) was feeling good quite drowsy still functioning though. Got to 2:30am was still feeling good and decided to have the other half (1mg) and within 15 minutes I was full blackout. Instant wake up in a bed with my girlfriend, at 9am. Blacked out for probably 6 hours.
Got out of bed and was extremely dizzy, could not walk straight legs were like jelly. Laid down on the floor at about 9:10am and then slept again until 3pm (6hours)
Woke up the second time and still uncontrollably dizzy. Feeling a bit ill. Small head spins still.
My girlfriend said whilst I was out I was constantly mumbling,talking and yelling the whole time, whilst also throwing my arms and legs.

Does this seem like a normal first time? From my research I was expecting more of a relaxed stage without the kick in the guts.
Would it be different if I stuck to a half (1mg) instead of doubling up?
Any comments/advice/help would be the best thank you!

Savannah
12:23 am January 30th, 2016

Im on 1mg xanax for anxiety and cutting. I raged on a 1mg, cane home took 3 more n then another 4. Im still having issues walking and not feeling myself. What do i do? Im precribed 1mg 3 times a day

Honky
10:23 pm February 1st, 2016

I took 12mg xannax yesterday. How long do you think I’ll still stay high from them?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:01 pm February 2nd, 2016

Hi, Savannah. I suggest you check into the ER to make sure everything is alright.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:27 pm February 2nd, 2016

Hi, Honky. Xanax doesn’t leave the body as quickly as many other drugs. In fact, Xanax can be detectable in urine for up to 6 weeks in heavy users, and even small doses can be detectable for over a week.

Jennifer
5:43 am February 12th, 2016

I’ve been taking xanax since 2010. Today my doctor swab my mouth to see if my levels were high I take my medication like I’m supposed to 3 times a day 1 milligram but sometimes I take two at once and I took two at once when I went to see her yesterday… so my question is do you think my levels will be too high and she will think that I am abusing them

powerlifter
8:46 am February 20th, 2016

As a CNS depressant, any benzodiazepine and many mood stabilizers have the side effect (well technically it’s the primary effect) of slightly decreasing performance. It’s more likely to be noticed in advanced athlete, as the central nervous system must be primed for maximal effort.

My question is, although the help for anxiety lasts ~4-5hours, how long can we expect the effects on the cns to last? I used to be on ativan (lorazepam) for use during severe anxiety issues but it would turn me into a sloth, mostly immobile and extremely lethargic, for a majority of the next day (usually taken at night around 10-12). I brought up the idea of a benzodiazepine with a shorter half-life with my psychiatrist and now receive xanax. Can I expect the sedation to last short enough to not interfere with my life?

sleeper
10:35 pm March 1st, 2016

hi I used 4 1 mg clonazepam on Monday feb 29th 2016 and today witch is Tuesday I took 4 more clonazepam 1 mg and 5 or 6 .5 mg alprazolam … I go to the clinic and get swabs and have take homes and don’t wanna lose them .. how can I fake this swab so I don’t get caught please help

Sajib
6:52 am March 16th, 2016

I read your post with interest, Really enjoyed this article. Thank you for publishing this valuable information.

Marcela
4:34 pm March 16th, 2016

Which is less addictive: Xanax or Valium?

2:24 pm March 23rd, 2016

Hello Marcela. Xanax is a short active benzodiazepine, and Valium is a long acting benzo. They are both different. The long acting benzodiazepine causes worse dependency problems due to a rapidly increasing tolerance. The short acting benzos cause worse addiction problems due to the rush they provide. But, this is just measuring of the differences. In reality, all benzodiazepine medications are very addictive and are not recommended for use longer than 2 weeks at a time.

Jazz
5:41 pm March 23rd, 2016

I took 2mg at 7:30 now it’s 10:30 and I don’t feel a thing so I took another 2 mg. Did I overdose or am I just not gonna get high?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:54 pm March 25th, 2016

Hi Jazz. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment of OD rick.

Jean
3:52 am March 29th, 2016

I took a .25mg of Xanax 3 hrs ago. Still not feeling well. Can I take it again now?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:58 pm March 29th, 2016

Hi Jean. Please consider that it is illegal to consume medications other than prescribed, and you put yourself at risk.

Lee
4:27 am April 3rd, 2016

My son took liquid Xanax 4 days ago can he die?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:13 pm April 4th, 2016

Hi Lee. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment of overdose risk or with help on what to do next.

Yerba
12:56 pm April 12th, 2016

Yeah hi I ah been subscribed on xantax for 3 years but its been seeming to not work over time increased my does still not too high of dose 2mgs a day but I was off them when I was outta state this summer for work couldn’t get them for some dumb ass reason so I ended having stopped them but I was able to smoke weed at that time but id still have MY symptoms I ended up catching an assault charge in that state so then I served time and been fighting it in court cause of my condition I was taking advantage of and I was in panic and high stress so maid bail after getting it dropped down but any way got a doctor down here got back on it been go through court and just got laid off I worked 12 hr night shift 6 to 7 days a week making snow and operating heavy equipment for ski resort so I didn’t Ned them as much only take 1/2 mill to a mg when not operating snowcats then take the half or whole tab for sleep but now im laid off and dealing with a lot rite now been running out of them a lot sooner I take one deal with some bullshit then it seems to ware off quickly so now its been like 4 ta 6mgs a day I noticed im almost out so I just kinda stopped them to save in case of extreme emergency this is the second time I had to go without for 10 or 15 days. The first time I wasnt sure what I was feeling was withdrawals this time its similar but definitely worse. Its good a kinda bad felling the heart hurting is a boot sketchy. Its feels like I just mixed molly with strong cocaine got the great talkieness n minor hallucinations of Molly but then the cocaine side of things big anxiety and cluster minded heart feely weird this is day two of the cold turkeying I ve only slept 3 hrs after I watched the sun come up and the dreams I had were so crazy I was gonna try working to try to get tireder but dont really want my heart rate any more so. I tazered myself to mabe get some sleep sometimes IT works not this time just woke me up more crap.. SO how long do you think this will last for I gotta drive back home six hours north hopefully not sleep on the way but hopefully sleep at nite so I can do interview and and hopefully get work and drink lots of Yerba Mat`e and STRAIGHT TOUGH IT OUT im looking into other meds ive herd Neroton non additive and may help in my condition
Oh yeah im GETTING the shakes kinda bad im not sure if this is seizure or not but its dealable ok bye mabe I’ll be able too sleep a little soon

Concerned Dad
3:47 am May 1st, 2016

My daughter was given half a bar of xanax 1mg Thursday at school. Teachers noticed she was acting weird and called us. She was out of it Thursday. Friday really tired and still tired today which is Saturday. How long should effects last?

isaac
2:19 am July 11th, 2016

Hi, I have been taking xanax occasionally during at night if I could not sleep.my question is how long it will stay in my system after taking it? thank you.

Sharon
8:35 am July 27th, 2016

I developed an addiction to Xanax and Ambien 11 years ago . I have been to numerous detoxEs and rehabs. I have currently been clean for five months which is the longest I have been off of the benzo’s in 11 years . I continue to have difficulty with my short-term and long-term memory to the sufficient degree and it is very upsetting and disrupting my life. My question is will my cognitive functioning improve the longer I stay off of the Ambien and Xanax and other benzo’s or have I done permanent damage to my brain and body?

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