How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System?
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System?
How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System? Benzodiazepines, or Benzos, as they are commonly referred to, are essentially tranquilizers. The most common are Valium and Xanax — both in terms of street drug usage and prescribed medications for legitimate needs.
They become an issue when individuals without a prescription take them strictly for their sedating effects as a recreational drug, as it can quickly spiral into a serious addiction. In a controlled situation, they are used to treat stress, panic attacks, and anxiety.
Often times patients have prescribed these drugs for short periods of time because they are highly addictive. There are several ways to determine whether or not Benzodiazepines are present in ones’ system.
Benzos stay in your system between 24 hours and 90 days, depending on how it’s being tested for. Benzodiazepines stay in your system up to 24 hours when administering a blood test, a couple of days via a saliva test, up to ten days when performing a urine test and a hair test can detect Benzodiazepines up to three months.
Benzodiazepines is a Schedule IV Drug
Benzos are the most common medications prescribed to combat depression in adults, and the Controlled Substance Act classifies it as a Schedule IV drug. When these are mixed with other depressants, like opioids and alcohol, it can create a deadly mix that is highly potent.
While most Benzos are taken voluntarily to experience a feeling of being sedated, some, like Rohypnol, are used to conduct assaults, namely sexual attacks. So, not all Benzodiazepine abuse is self-inflicted.
How to Test for Benzodiazepines
As mentioned above, there are multiple ways to test for Benzodiazepines — urine, blood, hair, and saliva tests are all capable of detecting the drug. The time is remaining in the system will also vary from drug to drug, as there are several Benzo drugs, with the most common being Xanax and Valium.
On one end of the chart in terms of length of time in the body’s system is Valium, which is considered long-acting, can remain detectible via a urine test up to ten days. Short-acting Benzos are detectible for two days on average.
Benzo Urine Tests
Testing for Xanax use through a urine test is the most common way since after being metabolized, about 20 percent of the drug remains in the urine. This makes the detection very easy and the accuracy via this test is near perfect.
Even recreational low-dose users of Xanax will test positive when administered a urine test up to four days after consumption because so much of the substance remains in the urine. Regular users will test positive for more than a week in some situations. Drinking water can dilute and flush it from the system, sometimes resulting in a false-negative test result.
Some other things that can trigger a negative result via a Benzo urine test is long breaks between use, as this will cause variations in the level of Benzodiazepines in the body. Sometimes the levels will dip low enough that it will not trigger a positive test.
An individual’s metabolism also plays a role; slow metabolism will keep the drug in the urine for a longer period of time, while a fast metabolism will quickly break the drug down, passing it form the system and making it more difficult to detect because the window of it being present in the system will be much shorter.
Some additional factors include the weight of the individual, the specific properties of the Benzodiazepines taken, as well as the pH of their urine.
Benzo Blood Tests
Benzodiazepine blood tests are less commonly administered than urine tests because they are more invasive and are typically done in a hospital setting. Drug tests performed by employers, for example, typically will not involve drawing blood.
Blood tests have a much shorter window, so they are often used to detect Benzodiazepines in a situation where the doctors and hospital is trying to determine what is in the system in the event of an overdose or a sexual assault case.
Benzo Hair Tests
While Benzodiazepines will accumulate in hair follicles, it’s important to understand that this type of test will not detect recent use. It’s better for determining long-term use or past use, as it can take more than a month for hair to grow just one centimeter.
This is not an accurate test to detect recent Benzodiazepine substances in the body. For previous use, up to a month, prior, the common hair test is called a Benzodiazepine Radioimmunoassay, and it’s an in-depth laboratory test that requires multiple strands for analyzation.
Benzo Saliva Tests
When testing specifically for Xanax, many times it will be done via a saliva test because it’s able to detect it up to two and a half days after consumption. They are also more costly to perform than a urine test, so that limits their use in some situations. The window of time for Benzo saliva tests is shorter than urine tests and longer than blood tests.
Different Types of Benzodiazepines
There are short, intermediate and long-acting forms of Benzodiazepines, and the classification is directly related to its elimination half-life. This is the timeframe in which the reduction of its concentration in the body is 50 percent.
Benzodiazepines that have an elimination half-life up to twelve hours will leave the body fairly quickly and these are the short-acting classification. The intermediate classification will remain upwards of forty hours and the long-acting classification will remain upwards of ten days.
Common sense will tell you that the Benzos with a longer elimination half-life will stay in your system longer. Addicts are not concerned with this, as they are simply looking for the anti-depressant fix. The elimination half-life comes into play more when determining how to best-test for particular Benzos.
Take Lorazepam, an intermediate classification, for example. It will have a longer impact on one’s central nervous system than a longer classification because the metabolization produces longer half-lives, extending its effect and time in the system.
One fast-acting Benzo is Alprazolam and multiple factors impact how long it remains in the system. How long and often one has used it, combined with other factors like overall health, metabolism, age, and liver functions all come into play. One person might fully process a dose after a week while another might fully process it in a few days.
Factors Contributing to How Long Benzos Stay in Your System
As mentioned previously, there are many factors that determine how long Benzos will stay in your system. Aside from the factors previously discussed, body fat and overall health play a key role.
Someone that is 5 foot 2 inches and 140 pounds will take longer to fully pass the Benzos through their system than someone who is 6 foot 4 inches and 260 pounds. Someone larger with more body mass is essentially taking a much smaller amount in terms of their size than then smaller and lighter individuals.
Benzos Dosage and Frequency
A typical Alprazolam dose is between 0.25 mg to upwards of 4 mg, but those that abuse the drug will build up a tolerance that will require much higher doses. These individuals will take much longer to pass it through their system than someone taking a more common dose, as they simply have more of it in their body.
How often a Benzos like Alprazolam is used also directly determines how fast the system will fully process it. Those with a long history using it will take longer to pass it than someone just taking it once, for example.
Combining Other Drugs with Benzos
Stacking other drugs with Benzos such as Alprazolam will also impact the system’s ability to fully process the substance. It comes down to slowing the overall liver clearance. Something has commonly taken, like Prozac, for example, will also cause metabolism delays — resulting in longer than normal removal.
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