Xanax is by far the most popular brand name drug in the benzodiazepine drug class. Usually prescribed to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and seizures, benzodiazepines are a sedative at low dosages and provides a state of high when abused at high dosages. Because it is a sedative, certain types of jobs, most commonly those that involve the use of heavy equipment, often require drug tests to ensure that workers aren’t using or abusing the drug, due to the safety issues that could arise from such use.
Determining Exactly How Long Xanax Will Stay in Your System Blood Urine & Hair
There are a number of factors that affect how long Xanax remains within the bodily system, including:
- Height and weight
- Percentage of body fat
- Duration of time that drug has been taken
- Amount of drug that has been taken
- Metabolism speed
- General health of both the liver and the kidneys
The higher the value of the above (except the last two), the longer that Xanax remains in the system. Metabolism speed is just the opposite. The faster the speed, the shorter Xanax stays in the system. Finally, while there is no numeric value that can be assigned to the health of the kidneys and liver, the healthier they are, the less time it remains in the system.
On average, a healthy adult taking Xanax doses as prescribed by a doctor, has a half-life of approximately 12 hours. This means that roughly half of the drug present in the body will be removed every 12 hours. What that means is it takes about 5 – 6 half-lifes (12 hours) for the drug to be fully flushed from the body. Compared to most other drugs, this is a reasonably long half-life.
This means Xanax will be detectable and present in the system of an average person taking a normal amount of Xanax for about 2.5 to 3 days.
Furthermore, the duration of that half-life is more variable than with most other drugs, particularly if a person is a heavy user of Xanax. In chronic Xanax users with weak livers the half-life is often well above the average of 12 hours, easily approaching 20 hours, which corresponds to roughly a week before the drug completely leaves the body. In extreme cases, the half-life may even be multiple days, resulting in weeks before the drug leaves the system.
More About Drug Testing and Xanax
As noted above, drug tests for benzodiazepine are particularly common in professions that involve the use of heavy machinery, like construction or transportation jobs. For those subject to such drug tests, the amount of time that Xanax can be detected depends primarily on the type of test.
Of the four type of tests that can detect benzodiazepine, blood tests can detect it for the least amount of time. Most blood tests can detect the drug from about a minute or so after it is taken until approximately one day after it was last taken. This means that the drug is still in the system, but simply isn’t detectable within the blood.
Saliva tests, conversely, can detect the drug seconds after it is first taken, if taken orally, or minutes after otherwise and can usually detect the drug as long as it remains within the system (i.e. 2.5 to 3 days).
Urine & Hair Follicle Xanax Tests
Urine tests and hair follicle tests can detect leftover traces of the drug even after the main ingredient has effectively left the system. Urine tests begin to detect the drug a few hours after it is first taken and tend to detect the drug for up to a day beyond when it leaves the system (4 days total), at least in prescription users. In chronic users a urine test will likely detect the drug for up to a week.
Hair follicle tests, while very rare, can potentially detect traces of the drug for up to a month after use in prescription users and twice that length of time in chronic users. However, they usually won’t detect the presence of the drug for the first few days after use.