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How long does Xanax XR take to start working, and how long does it stay in your system?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on March 31, 2023.

Official answer


Xanax XR maintains constant levels 5 to 11 hours after dosing.It takes around 6 days to be totally eliminated from your system.

Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine and is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression. Xanax XR Tablets are usually prescribed once daily, preferably in the morning.

Xanax XR is absorbed at a slower rate than regular Xanax with constant levels maintained from 5 to 11 hours after dosing.

Food has a significant effect of the bioavailability of Xanax XR. A high-fat meal given up to 2 hours before dosing can increase drug levels by about 25%.

Xanax XR is absorbed quicker in the morning compared with night time dosing. The mean plasma elimination half-life of Xanax (much the same as Xanax XR) is reported to be 11.2 hours. The full range is from 6.3 to 26.9 hours in healthy adults.

For a drug to be totally eliminated from your system it takes 5.5 times the half life which equates to around 6 days.

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