How Long Does Xanax Last? High, Effects, And Withdrawal

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 22, 2023

Xanax (alprazolam) is an anti-anxiety medication that goes to work in under an hour. Its anti-anxiety and sedative effects may last for up to six hours. Other considerations include the length of time that a Xanax high lasts, Xanax’s half-life, and how long Xanax stays in the system.

How Long Does Xanax Last?

Xanax is the brand name of the prescription medication alprazolam, a drug that is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorders.

It is a member of the benzodiazepine class of drugs (benzos), which are known for their sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant effects.

Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed medications by healthcare providers in the United States and is also one of the most commonly abused.

Many people wonder how long the effects of Xanax last. As with other drug effect timelines, the length depends on different factors.

How Long Does Xanax Last? What Are The Effects?

Xanax works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the central nervous system.

When a person takes Xanax, the drug binds with GABA receptors to slow brain signals, leading to a feeling of relaxation and calm.

If taken in high doses or combined with other types of drug and alcohol use, Xanax can create a euphoric high.

The effects of Xanax typically begin working in under an hour and reach their peak within two hours. Extended-release Xanax tablets last longer.

Xanax typically provides anxiety relief for four to six hours, though factors such as age, genetics, and metabolism may impact how long Xanax lasts.

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How Long Does Xanax Last In The Body?

The half-life of a prescription drug is the time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the drug.

The average half-life of Xanax is 11 hours, which means that it takes approximately 11 hours for the body to eliminate half of a dose of Xanax.

According to research on the half-lives of drugs, it takes roughly four to five half-lives for a drug to completely clear the average person’s system.

How Long Can Xanax Be Detected By Drug Tests?

Drug tests can often detect the presence of Xanax, even after the effects of the drug have worn off.

The length of detection time depends on the person, their metabolism, and other factors.

On average, the length of Xanax drug detection times are:

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?

Even when the medication is taken appropriately, Xanax use can lead to physical dependence and Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
Some Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • rebound anxiety and panic attacks
  • insomnia and restlessness
  • depression
  • muscle spasms and tremors
  • appetite changes
  • heightened sensitivity to stimuli
  • hallucinations
  • seizures

Tapering off Xanax instead of quitting abruptly can reduce these side effects.

A medical professional can help a patient taper off of the drug by prescribing a lower dose of Xanax than the patient’s last dose.

The person can take progressively lower doses over an extended amount of time until they complete detoxification and can stop taking Xanax safely.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Xanax Lasts

Many people have questions about Xanax and its potential for abuse. Here you’ll find some common questions about Xanax.

The therapeutic effects of Xanax usually last for four to six hours. However, this timeline can vary from person to person.

Yes, Xanax is a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means that it has therapeutic effects and some potential for abuse.

Using this drug may indirectly cause Xanax weight gain by influencing changes in appetite and slowing physical activity.

No, Xanax is not an opioid. It is a benzodiazepine. While benzodiazepine and opioid drugs are both central nervous system depressants, they work in different parts of the brain.

There are several signs of Xanax addiction. These signs include taking Xanax in non-prescribed ways, secretive behaviors, and obsession with the drug.

Yes, it is possible to overdose on Xanax. Misusing Xanax by taking higher doses or combining it with other substances significantly increases this risk.

Some of the most high-risk Xanax drug interactions include alcohol, antidepressants, opioids, and other benzos.

Find A Treatment Center For Xanax Addiction

Drug addiction is a difficult mental health disorder, but addiction treatment is available. Many people recover from Xanax abuse with adequate support from an accredited treatment program.

If you or a loved one need help to overcome Xanax addiction or any other form of drug abuse, contact our helpline to find personalized substance abuse treatment options.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 22, 2023
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