Alprazolam is an oral prescription belonging to the class of benzodiazepines, otherwise known as nervous system depressants. You probably know Alprazolam by its more popular name, Xanax.
This type of medication acts on your brain and nerves, triggering a calming effect. That makes Alprazolam a great candidate for treating panic and anxiety disorders.
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This article goes in-depth to find how long Alprazolam lasts inside your body.
If you’re a healthy adult, the physician will typically start you on 0.25–0.5 mg of Alprazolam, taken three times daily. The doctor could increase this dosage every 3–4 days to get to your required dosage. In any case, you should not exceed 10 mg/ day.
Your dosage, among other factors, will determine how long Xanax will last in your body.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Alprazolam’s Effects?
Xanax is a fast-acting drug. Your body will quickly absorb the medicine, which will bind to circulating proteins. The process is so fast that Alprazolam will hit its peak concentration within two hours.
How Long Does Alprazolam Last in Your System?
The estimated half-life of Xanax is about 11 hours. As the name suggests, that is the estimated time for Alprazolam’s active ingredients to reduce by half. By then, its potency will have decreased immensely.
Although Alprazolam’s typical half-life is 11 hours, not everyone will have the same experience as that figure is only accurate for healthy patients.
In practice, Xanax’s half-life can run anywhere between 6–27 hours, depending on the following factors:
The older you are, the longer Alprazolam’s effects will be. The estimated half-life for the elderly is 16 hours.
Studies show that Asian people will hold Alprazolam in their systems for much longer; at an average half-life of 14 hours, compared to 11 hours for Caucasians.
As you would expect, the larger your dose, the longer it would take to metabolize the drug; hence it will last longer in your body.
Speed of Your Metabolism
Kidney and Liver Condition
Your kidneys and liver help clear impurities. Therefore, it will take a long time to clear Xanax from your system if you have a liver or kidney condition. For instance, people with alcoholic liver disease have an Alprazolam half-life of 19 hours.
Some medications are known to inhibit Xanax’s metabolism, lengthening its stay inside your body.
These drugs include:
- Topiramate (Topamax)
Alcohol Usage and Smoking
Experts estimate that smoking can reduce Xanax’s half-life by up to 50%, while alcohol can increase its half-life and produce lethal side effects.
How You Use Xanax
If you take Alprazolam regularly, it follows you would have significant concentrations of it in your body. Therefore, it will take longer to get rid of.
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It will be longer for obese patients because they take longer to break down Xanax. On average, the half-life of the drug is almost 22 hours in overweight or obese people.
Alprazolam Detection in Your Body
You may not feel Xanax’s effects for longer than a day, but it is not entirely out of your system yet. Drug screenings will reveal that the drug is still in your body.
For example, some urine drug tests can detect Alprazolam up to seven days after finishing the dosage. It’s important to note that not all urine drug screens will identify Xanax.
However, it takes much longer to accumulate in your hair. Hence, a hair test can detect Xanax up to three months later.
Once you feel you are done with using Xanax, that does not mean it is out of your system. Withdrawal from Xanax can be challenging as it is a benzodiazepine, which is highly addictive.
Like any other addictive substance, Alprazolam has long-lasting symptoms. Hence withdrawal can last weeks, even years. Therefore, don’t stop taking Alprazolam without seeking your physician’s directions because detoxing can be dangerous.
Your physician will most likely take you through medical detoxification. The process involves reducing your Xanax intake gradually while substituting it with another substance that causes the same effects.
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