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Xanax Pills: The Facts About Metabolism of Alprazolam

xanax half-life time

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Xanax is a benzodiazepine-type medicine that directly affects the central nervous system. This sedative is predominantly administered to patients who struggle with anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Xanax (Alprazolam) was developed in 1956 as a safer alternative to traditional tranquilizers. Street names include Xannies, Benzos or Xanax Bars in different colors. It is currently in use to treat many conditions, including Insomnia, anxiety and other general panic disorders. How long does Xanax last in system? Xanax is a typical duration drug with a 12 to 15-hour lifespan. How long for Xanax to work? The drug usually starts taking effect an hour or two after ingestion. The depressant creates an overall feeling of relaxation or detachment.

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Table of Contents

How Long Does Xanax Stay in the Body?

Prescribed as a sedative or anti-anxiety medication, and due to its rapid effect, Xannies is a popular drug of choice. Over time, users discovered Xanax produced feelings of ecstasy upon consuming larger-than-recommended doses. Another reason for its lasting popularity is the effectiveness does not diminish over the years. How long does Xanax take to kick in? It would depend on the amount taken. A general timeframe of 1 – 2 hours has been established.

The CDC reports that “nationwide, 16.8% of students had taken prescription drugs (e.g., Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Codeine, Adderall, Ritalin, or Xanax) without a doctor’s prescription one or more times during their life.”

The drug has a medium duration drug with a half-life of 10 – 16 hours. The drug should exit the body in 4 – 5 days.

How Long Can Xanax Be Detected in Urine?

Research shows Xannies will prove visible in urine several days after ingestion. Tests based on urine samples are the easiest way to weed out drug abuse. The larger the amount ingested, the easier it is to find. Certain factors can negatively impact the testing field.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Blood?

Blood tests are more accurate though this method of testing has a shorter window. A blood test is best for testing a few hours to 2 days maximum after ingestion.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Hair?

Hair analysis is one of the most reliable methods of testing. One can detect usage over a period of time, not just the last time. Evidence of the drug can be found in the hair sample up to a 3-month period. This is not the best way to test for recent ingestion as the medicine needs time to settle within the body.

Factors That Influence Metabolism of Xanax

Xannies impacts brain function, specifically the production of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter which is responsible for communication between neurons. When the brain becomes stimulated, e.g., feelings of anxiety, the neurons will fire flat out. The drug has a calming effect on the neurons.
When asked, “how long does Xanax stay in body?” research points out Xannies hides in the body’s fat cells. Though one may have stopped taking Xanax, the effects can last for a period depending on the fat cells itself.
Metabolism of Xanax depends on the user and whether it’s the first time/infrequent use or not. The body processes medication, toxins, etc. in the liver and kidneys. For the drug to completely escape the body, one refers to the following points:

  • The strength of the user’s endocrine system.
  • Amount of drug ingested
  • Manner of ingestion
  • Age

Other factors that play a role in eliminating Xanax in the body include Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), body weight and height, and acidity levels. All these factors lead to one conclusion: the healthier the person is, the quicker the drug exits the body. Heavy usage over time can cause permanent damage to the body itself. This may affect the rate at which the drug is expelled.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report 174, 998 emergency room visits from 2005 – 2011 due to drugs like Xanax.

How to Get Xanax Out of System?

Woman overdose and had a pills in her hand.Like many substances, Xannies is pretty addictive. The rapid effect and exit from the body creates a quick, albeit dangerous dependency. When trying to detox, one may experience physical and psychological effects.
Researchers conclude that reducing the drug in small measures is the best way to remove Xanax from system.
Typical treatments on how to get Xanax out of system consist of the following:

  • Detox clinic or hospital program
  • Cutting it out completely (not recommended due to the hold on mind and body)
  • Medical detox using other drugs
  • Outpatient program (including therapy)
  • Familial support

It is best to seek a treatment plan that suits the individual concerned. Remember that detoxing may be a violent process. The patient may need round-the-clock assistance and care as the Xanax withdrawal symptoms present. Symptoms such as hostility, confusion and suicidal thoughts are common when going through withdrawal.
Alternative treatments include involving the user’s family and loved ones. This method provides a steady stream of reassuring feedback from both directions.

Concerned About a Loved One?

Addiction is a severe concern anyway one looks at it. Specific effects are common with Xanax in system. These include the following:

  • Obsession with the drug
  • Depletion of medication quicker than expected
  • Increasing the dosage more than the recommended amount
  • Utilizing creative ways to ingest the drug
  • Unpredictable behavior

Though these symptoms may seem familiar, one needs to seek help to get Xanax out of body. Treatment options vary from therapy to medicinal-based. Professionals have somewhat agreed upon a steady decrease in Xanax over time. One may find Xanax has been temporarily substituted with another substance to start the weaning process.

Xanax is physically and mentally powerful, thus the treatment programs need to take into account the user’s frame of mind and his physical conditioning. Failing to do so would defeat the purpose of the entire program.

Recovery is only a step away!

Xanax is one of the easiest drugs to become hooked on. Accessibility also makes it one of the most dangerous drugs out there. Off the record, it’s usually abused by teenagers using their parent’s medication. On the record, Xanax is a powerful sedative that can elicit feelings of mild relaxation right through to one of utter despair. Xanax in the body may prove a challenge to remove. A strong support system and the person’s determination will help defeat the addiction.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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