This Is How Long It Takes For Xanax To Start Working

If your doctor has recently prescribed Xanax (or the generic equivalent, alprazolam), you may be curious to know a bit more about just how quickly this drug will take effect. After all, those drug fact sheets that list every possible side effect aren't always crystal clear on what you can expect.

Xanax is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. This class of drugs is meant to suppress the central nervous system through enhancement of the natural amino acid, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (via Medical News Today). Healthline states that GABA can produce a calming effect, thus helping to reduce some symptoms of anxiety.

Xanax is typically prescribed to individuals who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety, phobias, and panic disorder. The recommended dosage for adults is 0.25 to .5 milligrams, up to three times a day, though some doctors may prescribe 1- or 2-milligram doses. The maximum prescribed dosage is no more than 4 milligrams per day for anxiety disorders, according to Mayo Clinic. For panic disorders, the maximum dosage is no more than 10 milligrams per day.

Side effects of Xanax

Some of the side effects of taking Xanax may include drowsiness, feeling relaxed, and notable changes in both libido and memory (according to For many individuals, the drug helps to create a sense of calm that alleviates the stress of worry and anxious thoughts. Unfortunately, Xanax is a frequently abused substance. Some individuals have described the experience of a Xanax "high" to be a constant wave of relief from anxiety and worry, which can become addicting (via Summit Wellness Group).

Particularly in cases of improper use, negative or unpleasant side effects associated with Xanax include dizziness, forgetfulness, slurred speech, sleepiness, drowsiness, discouragement, trouble concentrating, performing tasks, speaking, or moving (according to the Mayo Clinic). There are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration before starting Xanax. Medical News Today recommends that you consult with your doctor if you have asthma, kidney disease, glaucoma, symptoms of depression, or a history of drug or alcohol dependency before taking Xanax.

How long until Xanax kicks in?

Xanax, like many other benzodiazepines, has a relatively short life in terms of its effects and how long they are experienced by users. According to Healthline, the drug peaks between one and two hours after ingestion — with most effects of the drug lasting anywhere from two to four hours. But a number of factors can influence how fast the effects of Xanax are felt. Other medications, pregnancy, body weight, and blood sugar all play a role in not only how quickly Xanax kicks in, but also the potential side effects.

Healthline reports that some individuals will begin to feel the effects of a Xanax dose within five to 10 minutes of taking it. However, most individuals will have the effects within one hour. According to Healthline, the drug has a half-life of about 11 hours. The half-life of a drug, according to ScienceDirect, is a term used to describe the amount of time it takes for the concentration of the drug to decrease by 50%. Depending on the test, Xanax will remain detectable in the system for up to four days, with results varying based on body weight and other factors (per American Addiction Centers). Both the half-life and the effectiveness of the drug are impacted if the drug is expired (and Xanax does expire). Be sure to properly discard old prescription medications and report any unusual side effects to your doctor.