Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication approved for the short-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorders in adults. It is available in both a short-acting (Xanax) and long-acting (Xanax XR) version. Which version you take may affect how long Xanax stays in your system. Other factors such as age, ethnicity, liver function and certain medications may affect how quickly your body can get rid of the drug.

Xanax Half-Life

The half-life of Xanax is about 11.2 hours but can range from 6.3–26.9 hours in healthy adults. Xanax XR has a half-life ranging from 10.7–15.8 hours in healthy adults. The half-life of a medication is the amount of time it takes your body to metabolize and get rid of half of a drug from your system. It takes about five half-lives, or 56 hours, for 97% of a Xanax dose to leave your body.

Factors That Affect the Rate Xanax Leaves the Body

  • Age: As you age, your metabolism decreases, and it takes longer for your body to get rid of the same amount of medication as a younger person. Older adults tend to have higher levels of Xanax and be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Ethnicity: The concentration and half-life of Xanax are greater in Asians than in Caucasians. Studies have demonstrated a 15% increase in concentration and a 25% increase in the time it takes the body to eliminate the drug in this population.
  • Liver function: The half-life of Xanax is longer in people with poor liver function or alcoholic liver disease. The half-life in healthy adults ranges from 6.3–26.9 hours, whereas the half-life in adults with poor liver function ranges from 5.8–65.3 hours.  
  • Medications: Several medications can affect the rate Xanax leaves the body. Some medications that may decrease how quickly Xanax is eliminated include cimetidine, fluoxetine, ketoconazole, itraconazole and erythromycin.

Does Xanax Show Up on a Pre-employment Drug Test?

Pre-employment drug testing may be conducted in drug-free workplaces to prevent workplace accidents. Side effects from certain medications, such as Xanax, may include dizziness or drowsiness, decreased alertness and trouble with coordination. People experiencing these side effects may have an increased risk of workplace injury. 

Workplace drug-testing programs for pre-employment may screen for several different substances, including illegal drugs, prescription medications and alcohol. The most common drugs tested for on pre-employment drug screenings are:

  • amphetamines
  • cocaine
  • marijuana
  • opiates
  • phencyclidine (PCP)

Tests can vary depending on the specific workplace drug-testing program. While some places of employment only run a 5-panel test, other workplaces may screen for more substances. Other substances frequently tested for include:

  • barbiturates
  • benzodiazepines 
  • alcohol
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • methaqualone 

Xanax (alprazolam) and its metabolite, α-hydroxyalprazolam, can show up on drug tests that screen for benzodiazepines. Drug screenings may be ordered specifically for Xanax or as a general screening for benzodiazepines and their metabolites. Testing can be performed on several different samples, including urine, blood, saliva and hair.

What Can Make You Test Positive for Xanax?

A false-positive drug test is when the results show positive for a drug you have not taken. There have been reports of false-positive tests for Xanax in people taking sertraline and oxaprozin. You should tell the drug testing site about any medications you are currently taking to ensure accurate results.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?

A drug is considered completely eliminated (with no clinical effect or side effects) after five half-lives, about 55 hours for Xanax. The time Xanax and its metabolites are still detectable can vary depending on what is tested. Drug tests are performed using urine, blood, saliva and hair.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Urine?

Urine drug screenings are the most common type of drug test. You are given instructions on how to collect a urine sample in a specimen cup for this test. The urine sample is  tested for the presence of substances such as Xanax. Xanax and its metabolites are detectable for up to five days in urine.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Blood?

A healthcare provider takes a blood sample from a vein in your arm during a blood test. The blood sample is sent to a lab for testing. Xanax and its metabolites are detectable in blood for up to five days.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Saliva?

Saliva tests are also commonly known as mouth swab tests. A saliva sample is obtained by sweeping the inside of the mouth several times with a swab. The inside of the cheeks, gums and tongue are swabbed, and the sample is tested. Xanax and its metabolites may be detected for up to 36 hours in saliva.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Hair

Hair drug tests are performed by testing a hair sample for the presence of specific drugs. A hair sample consisting of 90–120 hair strands is cut and sent to a lab for testing. Drugs may be detected for up to 90 days in hair.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your Breastmilk?

Xanax in breast milk is reported to cause drowsiness and withdrawal symptoms in breastfed infants. Women taking Xanax should not breastfeed until their body has had time to metabolize and get rid of the drug. It usually takes five half-lives for your body to remove 97% of a drug; for Xanax, this would be at least 55 hours. 

Xanax and Pregnancy Tests

While rare, certain drugs have been reported to cause false-positive pregnancy tests. Anti-anxiety medications, like Xanax, may affect pregnancy test results. Other medications that may cause false-positive results include antihistamines, antipsychotics and methadone.

Finding Treatment for Xanax Addiction in Columbus, Ohio

The Recovery Village Columbus offers a full range of treatment options for those struggling with Xanax addiction. Located 10 miles from downtown Columbus in Groveport, Ohio, The Recovery Village Columbus is the perfect place to start your recovery. This relaxed, small-town environment allows those traveling from across the U.S. a tranquil setting where they can focus on healing. 

Our expert team of licensed addiction specialists evaluates each person’s unique situation and creates individualized treatment plans to meet their needs. Personalized treatment plans may include medical detox, inpatient care, partial hospitalization, outpatient care and aftercare. Our medical detox program provides around-the-clock care and supervision by a dedicated staff of medical professionals. Following Xanax detox, therapists work with each person to promote long-term healing and develop coping strategies to remain Xanax free.

Xanax addiction can be hard to overcome on your own. If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax addiction, The Recovery Village Columbus is here to help you on the road to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and how you can live your life without Xanax. 

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Editor – Theresa Valenzky
Theresa Valenzky graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in News/Mass Media Communication and a certificate in psychology. She is passionate about providing genuine information to encourage and guide healing in all aspects of life. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Elizabeth Cambria
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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.