What Is Xanax Half-Life?

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

What Is Xanax Half-Life? – Xanax (alprazolam) is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines that are primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorder, but sometimes also insomnia or seizures. Xanax works by slowing down activity in the central nervous system (CNS) inducing feelings of calm and sedation. Because of its effects, it does have to potential for dependence and can be habit-forming, so it’s recommended only for short-term use.

Xanax Half-Life

Xanax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. After using Xanax in pill form, peak levels can be found in the blood about 1 to 2 hours later. The average half-life of Xanax in the blood is 11 hours in healthy adults, meaning that half of the drug has been broken down and eliminated through the urine during that period. It takes between five to seven half-lives for 98% of a drug dose to be expelled from the body, so Xanax takes at least four days to be fully eliminated.

The half-life of Xanax tends to be longer for the elderly, individuals who are considered obese, those with alcoholic liver disease, and people of Asian descent. Moreover, for these people, Xanax will likely take more time to metabolize and clear out of their system. Furthermore, the concentration of Xanax in the blood is up to 50% among tobacco smokers.

Xanax Half-Life – Detection Windows

Xanax is detectable in the blood, saliva, urine, and hair, but how long it can be identified depends on a variety of personal factors. Age, weight, body fat percentage, the presence of other medications, dose, length of time Xanax has been used, hydration level, and metabolism all influence how long it takes for the drug to be expelled from a person’s system.

The following are the estimated detection window times for Xanax:

Urine – A urine drug screen, such as those that are conducted for employment purposes, may test positive for Xanax up to one week after a dose. For populations (e.g., the elderly) who metabolize Xanax more slowly, that time may be longer.

Saliva – Xanax can be detected in saliva for up to 36 hours.

Hair – As with all drugs, Xanax can be identified in a hair follicle beginning two to three weeks after the last dose and for up to 90 days.

Blood – Blood samples may be taken for a screening test or in cases of treatment for a suspected or confirmed overdose, but they can only determine that a person has taken Xanax in the last 24 hours.

Risks of Xanax Use

Xanax can cause drowsiness and sedation, so for this reason, those using the medication should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any other activity or task that requires full concentration and alertness. Xanax can have interactions if combined with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, and can lead to severe, life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, and coma or death. Medications of particular concern are prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Because Xanax can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, and because tolerance for the drug can build rapidly, it has the potential to be habit-forming. Patients should take Xanax as directed, and are strongly advised not to use it more often or in larger doses, as this can lead to serious health complications, addiction, and overdose.

Do not suddenly stop using Xanax, as this can result in withdrawal symptoms and serious complications. Instead, talk to your doctor about a tapering schedule in which you are gradually weaned off the medication over time.

Symptoms of Xanax overdose can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Depressed respiration
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Weak pulse
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Coma

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Common Side Effects

Xanax can produce side effects that often subside once the body has become used to the medication. The most common side effects include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes
  • Joint pain
  • Nasal congestion

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare, and may include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe rash
  • Yellowish eyes or skin
  • Memory problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Overdose

Treatment for Addiction

Xanax is a powerful sedative that has the potential for abuse and dependence. Because withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can be severe and even life-threatening, abrupt cessation is never advised, especially without the direct supervision of a medical professional or addiction specialist.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized treatment facility that employs a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to substance abuse and addiction. We offer multiple services vital to the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.

If you or someone you love is abusing Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!

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