Alprazolam, the active ingredient of Xanax, is a drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Depending on personal characteristics of the user, a single dosage of Xanax may last in the body for anywhere from 31 hours and 134.5 hours (5.6 days). But Xanax’s hypnotic, soothing, and relaxing effects often subside after eight to twelve hours.
When taken by oral, Xanax enters the circulation swiftly. The medication should start working within an hour, and after one to two hours, it reaches its peak levels in the body. Regular Xanax users may acquire a tolerance to the drug, which may make effects like sleepiness or calmness take longer to take effect or not be as powerful as they once were.
Because Xanax’s effects on the body (calming, sedation, and relaxing) often subside within eight hours for most individuals, it is typically given three times per day. One dosage of Xanax does, however, stay detectable in the body for two to five days; the precise amount of time varies on a number of characteristics unique to the person who took the dose.
What factors determine the half-life of Xanax?
Factors that determine how long a dose of Xanax will persist in the body for include:
- A person’s age: Xanax lasts for longer in elderly people. The average half-life in the elderly is 16.3 hours, compared to 11.2 hours in younger, healthy adults
- Weight: Xanax lasts for longer in heavier people, because obesity makes it harder for your body to break down Xanax. The average half-life in people who are overweight/obese is 21.8 hours, compared to 11.2 hours in young, healthy adults
- Ethnicity: Xanax lasts for longer in Asian people. The average half-life in Asian people is 14 hours, compared to 11.2 hours in Caucasians
- Metabolism: People who exercise a lot or who have a faster metabolism clear Xanax faster than those who don’t exercise or do any physical activity. The half-life of Xanax is shorter in these people
- Liver function: Xanax lasts for longer in people with poor liver function. The average half-life in people with alcoholic liver disease is 19.7 hours, compared to 11.2 hours in young, healthy adults
- Length of time taking Xanax: If you take Xanax regularly, then you will have a higher concentration in your bloodstream and it will take longer to fully eliminate it all. But because you have built up a tolerance to the drug, you may not necessarily feel its effects for longer
- Interacting medications: Xanax lasts longer when it is taken with drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 (eg, erythromycin, ketoconazole, nefazodone, oral contraceptives), one of its metabolizing pathways. Other drugs (such as carbamazepine, St John’s wort), may decrease the half-life of Xanax
- Smoking: The half-life of Xanax may be reduced by up to 50% in smokers compared to nonsmokers. This means that smokers metabolize Xanax more quickly than nonsmokers
- Alcohol: Alcohol can increase the effects and half-life of Xanax, and can lead to dangerous side effects which could be fatal.
How long does Xanax stay in your system?
The half-life of Xanax varies between 6.3 and 26.9 hours, according to studies. It’s crucial to understand that the half-life of a medicine is an estimate of how long it will take for its concentration or quantity to precisely halve (or 50%) in the body. A medication is no longer thought to be having an impact after 97% of it has left the body after four to five half-lives. This does not necessarily imply that it will not be picked up by a drug test, since this relies on how accurate and sensitive the test is.
If we use the average half-life of Xanax, which is 11.2 hours, then the following is estimated for a 1mg dose of Xanax:
- 11.2 hours after administration, 0.5mg remains
- 22.4 hours minutes after administration, 0.25mg remains
- 33.6 hours after administration, 0.125mg remains
- 44.8 hours after administration, 0.063mg remains
- 56 hours after administration, 0.0315mg remains.
Theoretically, we can see that in individuals whose Xanax half life is 11.2 hours, practically all of the initial Xanax dosage (slightly less than 97%) has been destroyed by 56 hours (2.3 days). However, in some individuals, Xanax has a half-life of 26.9 hours. These persons will need around 134.5 hours (5.6 days) to remove almost 97% of a dosage of Xanax.