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Saturday, March 30, 2013 ltlmiss, Community Member, asks

Q: Xanax - How long does it last?

If I take 0.5mg of Xanax, I've been told that it will take effect within 30 minutes, but I can't find information about when the effects wear off.  Anyone have any experience with it that can comment?

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Answers (2)
Eileen Bailey, Health Guide
6/ 5/14 8:44pm

Thank you for your question.


I am not a medical professional and cannot give you medical advice. 


Xanax is a "short-acting" anxiety medication. While everyone reacts to medication differently, the average length of time you will feel the effects of Xanax is four to five hours. Remember this is an average, some people might feel the effects wear off much sooner. Your weight, metabolism and other factors all impact how effective a medication is and how long it is effective. 



italiangm, Community Member
4/ 2/13 6:19am

The rate at which an individual's body metabolizes (eliminates) xanax varies. It has an average half-life (time required for the body to metabolize half the drug) of 11 hrs. Most people report xanax loses its effectiveness between 8 and 14 hrs after it is taken.


My experience: On low anxiety days, it felt like 0.25mg xanax lasted about 12 hrs. On high anxiety days, I was ready for my next dose after about 8 hrs.

ltlmiss, Community Member
4/ 2/13 6:35pm

Thanks.  That is helpful. 


I'm starting to wonder if Xanax works for Phobias as I tried the .5 mg and experienced no effects until 2 hours later.  Of course, it was a dry run and I wasn't overly anxious at the time.  I'll be trying 1mg now, but I'm wondering if it's the best medication for trauma based phobias.

italiangm, Community Member
4/ 2/13 7:34pm

It might be helpful to understand how benzodiazepines like xanax work.


All benzos increase GABA level, which turn down the 'volume control' of signals being transmitted through the nervous system. These signals include those involved in thought, movement, and sensation. 


It is likely that xanax will reduce the impact of phobic thoughts related to trauma, but it is not a cure. It only relieves symptoms.


Insight into the trauma(s), how they trigger phobias, and the process of reframing how one thinks/feels are likely to be more helpful in the long run, even if being reexposed to the trauma(s) is triggering during the short run. A good therapist knows how to control the exposure level so the client doesn't lose therapeutic gains caused by excessive triggering.

ltlmiss, Community Member
4/ 2/13 8:10pm

For now the medication isn't for every day - just to get me through a medical procedure that I can't easily avoid.  So, I just need something that will work long enough for that.  Then I can address it in therapy.

italiangm, Community Member
4/ 2/13 8:25pm

Ah. Good luck with your procedure. 


I've been through several uncomfortable procedures this year, none of them life-threatening.


Fortunately, my anxiety has been well controlled so it hasn't been much of a deterrent to my recovery. Smile


p.s. I've lived w/ relapsing/remitting panic disorder for 35 years.

chas, Community Member
1/18/14 8:32pm

I feel the same i have bad panic attacs an im on 1mg xanax it dont seem to work doc today puy me on klonopin 1mg havent tried it yet i have afib an panic alot so i dont know what to do i have alot of meds so dont know whitch is working or not but doc said my heart good just electric part dont want to work like the rest ?????

Skatnnofx, Community Member
5/28/14 9:12pm
Good luck friend. I hope everything works out for you. Reply
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By ltlmiss, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/05/14, First Published: 03/30/13