How Long Does It Take Xanax To Kick In?

Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescription drug with sedative effects that typically take 15 to 60 minutes to kick in. Several factors can affect the onset of Xanax’s effects, including the dose and whether or not the person taking it has any pre-existing medical conditions, such as substance abuse.

How Long Does It Take Xanax To Kick In?

Alprazolam (brand name Xanax) is an antidepressant prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It induces calming effects, such as drowsiness and sleepiness.

Though helpful in treating generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks, there are many serious side effects to the medication, such as withdrawal symptoms, physical dependence, and Xanax addiction.

Depending on certain variables, such as the dose of Xanax, it can take shorter or longer periods for effects to kick in.

Below we’ll explore how long it takes for Xanax to work. Anyone taking Xanax should seek medical advice from their doctor regarding concerns about side effects.

How Long Does It Take For Xanax To Work?

Generally, the effects of Xanax begin working in 15 to 60 minutes. Most people feel the peak of a Xanax high at around the one-hour mark.

Compared to other drugs used for substance abuse, Xanax is absorbed in the body fairly quickly. Within minutes of ingestion, alprazolam works on GABA receptors in the central nervous system.

This results in slower breathing and a slower heart rate as well as temporarily decreased blood pressure.

Xanax is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is usually taken as a prescription medication in tablet form. There is the faster-acting CT tablet and the extended-release XR type of Xanax.

Though most people feel Xanax work within an hour of ingestion, some start to feel it at around 15 to 20 minutes. The difference can be attributed to several factors, which we will explore next.

Factors That Affect Xanax’s Effectiveness

There is a general window of time for Xanax’s effects to begin to form. But there may be differences in when people feel these effects.

Similar to opioid use, many variables can affect how quickly Xanax starts to take action. Physical and mental health and external factors can all influence Xanax’s effects in the body.

Factors that can affect Xanax’s onset time:

  • the dose
  • preexisting tolerance level
  • physical and mental health history
  • co-occurring substance abuse or medication use, such as alcohol use or Valium use
  • the route of drug administration (sniffing, swallowing, snorting, or injecting)
  • the type of Xanax taken

Below we’ll explore some of these factors in depth.

Xanax Dose

Perhaps the main determining factor is the amount of Xanax taken. High doses will hit the body harder, leading to effects starting sooner, compared to a low dose.

A low dose of Xanax may not be enough to create effects. Low doses may also lead to effects taking longer to appear.

Concurrent Medication Use

People engaging in substance use may mix drugs to feel certain desired effects or to offset negative side effects.

Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe other medications along with Xanax, such as Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), or diazepam.

When multiple drugs are in the system, the absorption times and metabolizing of a substance may be affected. Some drug interactions can terminate the effects of one drug, or intensify another.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

A person’s prior physical or mental health history can affect how long Xanax takes to kick in. People with brain damage or other brain disorders may have trouble noticing the effects.

Conversely, people who have certain mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are more sensitive to touch and light. This can make Xanax’s effects set in quicker.

Why Xanax Usually Works Quickly

In most cases, the effects of Xanax will be felt within the first day of administration. For some people with certain anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, it may take a week.

Xanax is fast-acting due to the efficient absorption rate, how it interacts with target chemicals in the brain, and how it works in the brain.

Why Xanax May Work Slower

Occasionally, Xanax will take longer to kick in. As mentioned before, the main reason is usually the dose. A low dose will result in weak or no effects.

But there are other reasons. Some people’s bodies need to become acclimated to Xanax. Also, some who have developed a high tolerance to other benzos may not feel Xanax as strongly.

How Long Does Xanax Last After Ingestion?

Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine that creates a long high and stays in the body for a while, even after its effects have subsided.

A Xanax high and the withdrawal period is affected by when the last dose was taken, how much was taken, and a person’s prior health history.

Xanax High

Typically, a Xanax high will last four hours. Benzodiazepines are known to build tolerance quickly, so as dependence grows, highs are shorter.

The half-life of Xanax is around 11 hours, meaning it stays in your body for a relatively long amount of time compared to other drugs.

Xanax Withdrawal

All benzodiazepine use is followed by a period of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can begin once someone stops taking Xanax. Symptoms are a result of the body adjusting to the absence of Xanax.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms begin one to two days after the last dose. Tapering off can last anywhere from two to four weeks or more, depending on the severity of Xanax use.

Find Treatment In Massachusetts

The time it takes Xanax to kick in and its resulting effects can lead to drug abuse and worsened anxiety. But there are drug treatment centers that can help.

We at Spring Hill Recovery Center have many addiction treatment options to help with Xanax abuse. Some of these include inpatient programs, medical detox, and outpatient services.

Reach out today to learn more about substance abuse therapy at our recovery facility.

Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team

Published on: October 26, 2022

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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