How long does Xanax last?

Xanax effects last for about 4 hours, although alprazolam stays in your system considerably longer. Learn more about Xanax dosing, dangers, and more here.

minute read

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.

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.

Is your need for Xanax frequency/amount of use increasing? If you feel stuck because of your addiction and want to quit but are unable to…there are ways to stop use in a safe and successful manner. Learn more about the addiction treatment process, rehab options, therapies and programs that can help in our GUIDE on Tranquilizer Addiction Treatment Programs and Help.

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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I have read and agree to the conditions outlined in the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

  1. I began for constipation/digestion problems a week ago &, apparently my head was tying up my innards as minimal dosage of Xanax , 2 times a day, freed everything up. My question is: should I continue with Xanax ? Lower dosage or times per day ? Discontinue completely hoping innards learned a permanent lesson ? Strength on box = 0.25

  2. If I take 3mg of xanax at 930 am then 2 mg at 1 then 2mg at 6 should I feel the same all day long or should I be getting higher

  3. I am addicted to alprazolam. I have been for years but I have tried to keep my nerd for them below 4mg a day. I am at about 4mg a day give or take. I just want to know how long the drug can keep me well. Do I need to take one every 12 hours or will 2 at one time last 24 hours. Also I’d like to know how to cut back a little without withdrawals. Thank you

  4. I probably do this every two months, buy about 10 Xans 2 mg green bars and finish them in 2 to 3 days. Is that bad?

  5. I took a 0.5 xannx last night around one in the morning for my anxiety attack how many can i take daily if i have another attack

  6. How long does the high or whatever you wanna call it last? Will you be Is going to sleep normal when taking it?

  7. First time taking xanax here. I took one yesterday at 6:30pm Friday and today Saturday I have been feeling sluggish and out of it. Is that part of the side effects

  8. I never take xanax but i took half of a 2mg bar on Friday night. I have to take a drug test tomorrow which is Wednesday, will I be Ok?

  9. I only poped once. 0.25mg. In 5 or 10 mins I felt quite cold.

    Did not get high but drowsy and relaxed. Trouble free. 4 hours later just slept. And been 4 or 5 days my sleep is cracked up… I can’t sleep up until 4 5 am… My head still feels blunt, drowsy, care free.

    I’m in a depression and I quit weed like 1 month ago after some half a year abuse..

    Popping xanax is very stupid. Really… I’m quite f… Ed

  10. My girlfriend shoot and what she get is garbage and she starts acting like a crack head i think her tolerance ls very high and I don’t know how to help her

  11. I have been taking 1 xanax .25 every nite for over 20 years and I have ringing in my ears in the last 2 months could it be because of xanax?

  12. My 17 year old son took Xanax I found him acting strange stamping his feet confused early hours of this morning outside the house. He appeared drunk and couldn’t walk or talk very well. He wouldn’t tell me at the time what it was. He went out in the garden sat on a chair and had his hands clenched around his ears head down and wouldn’t talk. I left him for a minute incase I was stressing him out and he collapsed off the chair onto the patio. I rushed out and he came too confused why he was on the ground. He then went to his room and didn’t want AE I wasn’t sure what he’d taken but he does smoke cannabis and has taken LSD so I decided to keep an eye on him. At one point he had his hand clenched over his mouth and was breathing through it. I moved his hand and carried on monitoring him. He eventually just slept and breathing sounded ok. Now I’ve found out this morning he took 3 Xanax he seems fine but I’m still worried.

  13. I took a half of xanax at about 11 o’clock last night…i have a drug screen for a job at 330 will it show up ?

  14. I doubt anybody can answer this question but iv been taking xanax for years because my anti social life i get bad anxiety. Iv reached up to (4), 2xanax at once because i became high tolerance and it worked for me without blacking out. But now i take the same amount and i started blacking out, even if i take less like 3 sometimes 2 ill black out. And my question is.. Is that suppose to happen or i reached my limit that i have to stop? When i really need them for my anxiety…?

  15. I been on vallium for 22 years and I’m told that I’m better staying on them as quick detox is dangerous to come off them and they’re killing brain cells daily so after 22 years and I’m told that I got some chance of dying detoxification treatment for bendozapines and very hard to get off help as it’s messing with my head or and memory ahhhhh

  16. I took a half a stick on Sunday and a half stick on Friday and about the same the week before that I am do for a urine test on Wednesday I am 6′-2″ and weigh 235 lb will the drug show up in the test?

  17. I have been taking alprazolam since 2009. It was 1 msg 3 times a day. And I am weaning off now and am down to 0.5mg 2 times a day. So as I am weaning, I wondered when I get down to where I’m not taking anymore will I have any withdrawal from this? But a pharmacist and my NP are helping with the weaning. The pharmacist told me that it wouldn’t be in my system more than 3 daya after , but since I’ve been on so long, will I have withdrawal after that?

  18. I am prescribed .5mg Xanax two times a day but they don’t last long enough. Is there a way to make them last longer so I don’t have to ask my doctor for more. I am also on depression meds and don’t want to be taking to many medications. Should I ask for more or is there a way I can make them last longer??

  19. I am on 1 mlg blues it says on the script take 1 pill 4 times a day I been on them for about 11 years now but I went to rehab to get off methadone which didn’t workout well cause while I was there they wanted to detox me from the xanax long story short I came home in a week because I really wasn’t feeling right sometimes I wanted to hurt someone sometimes I would sit in the bathroom and cry my anxiety was thru the roof as soon as I came home an hour later I had a seizure so when I got out to 6 floor which they wouldn’t give me them there when I got to go to my doc he moved out of state so for a couple months the worst of my life I didn’t want to be seen by people other wise I would shake real bad and think everyone was talking about me they started with buspar celexa and gabapentin so I Reyes I mean what could I do then another 3months they would change the meds or mlgs finally I let her deal my heart beating and my finger bad habit I bite on it when nervous or scared I mean I stayed In my house for about 10 months then I told her take all theses meds back they aren’t working please just give me my xanax back she was heesetent at first but she said no try clonzedine with the buspar and gabapentin 3 months later told her I finally had some kind of relief but I had to take more then what it said to so finally she gave in and gave me 3 a a day for about 9 months and I gave her back her serequal because I felt like a zombie man when I woke up they were really strong and I asked her for my original dose and she gave me that 1 more so I felt sort of normal I came out my shell little bye little for about a year now I felt ok but now I have to take two in the morning and two at night because I really am going thru slot in my life grandmother passed going thru a divorce trying to find a job I mean I feel like I’m slipping in my shell a lil and for 13 years staying on the same dose and now after everything I went thru when I came home almost a year without them I deal my oringinal dose isn’t working but I feel if I ask her two just give me 2sticks and maybe one more instead of the four footballs because I feel they aren’t lasting long enough. Someone help me out lol

  20. I have been taking 2 xanax aday for 14 days. I am worried that I might feel my drug text the 15 days is when I have to take it. Will I be able to pass it?

  21. I took .05 Xanax several hours ago because I had been waiting for a refill on my Ativan. Will it be okay to take the Ativan in four hours or so? I have only used a few Xanax pills so I have not been on it any extended time.

  22. 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?

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

  24. 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?

  25. 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

    1. 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.

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

  26. 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?

    1. 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.

  27. 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

  28. 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?

  29. 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

    1. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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!

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

  33. 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.

    1. 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.

  34. 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

  35. I got diagnosed with post partum depression after I had my baby girl in march and I also developed 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…

  36. 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

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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!

    1. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. 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

    1. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?