How Long do Benzodiazepines Stay in Your System?

Many factors contribute to the length of time benzodiazepines stay in your system.

How Long do Benzodiazepines Stay in Your System? | Table of Contents

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepine belongs to a class of psychoactive drugs that are widely prescribed in the USA, specifically used for treating older patients. Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are classified as Class Schedule IV drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. They are usually prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders as well as treating epilepsy that results in seizures. Benzos possess a higher success rate and are considered much safer compared to a more powerful and dangerous class of drugs named Barbiturates.

Benzos are a type of central nervous system depressants that make way for serious complications when combined with other drugs that react similarly. Despite this, benzos are increasingly prescribed for individuals battling alcohol withdrawal.

Benzo prescriptions have doubled throughout the past decade, due to its recreational and experimental use by individuals. Xanax is specifically popular amongst abusers and comes with nicknames such as “bars” due to the unique, rectangular shape of the pills.

The human brain is comprised of many neurotransmitters that are responsible for communicating messages back and forth through brain cells to produce tranquilizing or excitatory effects. When an individual is situated in an overly anxious scenario, the brain starts to overreact, resulting in the natural tranquilizing transmitters in the brain to communicate and get the brain down to a calmer state. Benzodiazepine reacts in the same manner, releasing a tranquilizing chemical in the brain that works along with the brain’s natural tranquilizing effects to keep the brain calmer and more composed.

Benzodiazepine has also shown to bring in side effects such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Impaired coordination
  • Vision problems
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Dazed state

Long-term use of benzodiazepine will eventually result in physical dependency, which can take root even after using it for as little as one month or even when consumed as prescribed. Abruptly quitting drug usage can make way for severe withdrawal symptoms that may seem daunting for those who wish to stop the consumption of the drug. Medical intervention is highly recommended for those who wish to stop.

Timespan of Benzodiazepines Effects

Different benzodiazepines remain for different lengths in our bodies. Medically, these durations are measured by the drug’s half-life, which is the length of time required for the concentration of the drug to decrease to half of its potency or starting dose. In essence, it generally takes around five half-lives to discard a drug’s active components from a body. Benzodiazepines’ half-lives are classified into three categories, such as long-acting, intermediate-acting, and short-acting.

These drug classifications greatly assist doctors in identifying which drug to prescribe for which specific condition. Long-acting benzodiazepines are widely known to develop sedative feelings in users, leaving them with a feeling of calm. This type of drug can leave the user in a state of haze if abused. On the other hand, short-acting or fast-acting benzodiazepine abuse can result in memory losses or disorientation.

Long-acting benzodiazepines
  • Valium – is a hypnotic sedative and anticonvulsant drug that is utilized to minimize anxiety rapidly. It is also used to treat insomnia, restless leg syndrome, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal.
  • Librium – is a drug used to manage alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
  • Dalmane – is a sedative drug that is utilized to reduce anxiety and to treat insomnia that ranges from mild to moderate.
Intermediate-acting benzodiazepines
  • Xanax – this is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Xanax is the most popular and widely prescribed Benzodiazepine in the USA.
  • Ativan and Restoril – Ativan is used to treat anxiety, while Restoril is approved as a short-term treatment for sleeping disorders.
Short-acting benzodiazepines
  • Versed – this drug is primarily used to sedate a person who is about to undergo surgery, dental work, or other medical procedures.
  • Halcion – this drug is used to treat certain sleeping troubles by helping an individual fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and reduce the number of times a person wakes up during the night.

What Determines How Long Benzodiazepines Stay in Your System?

Here are a few factors that experts use to help determine how long benzodiazepines stay in your body:

  • The type of drug consumed
  • The amount ingested
  • Age, weight, gender, and ethnicity of the individual
  • Duration of consumption
  • Method of consumption
  • Polydrug use
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Psychiatric conditions


How long does Ativan stay in your system?

Most of Ativan is eliminated within five days of consuming it. However, there are some metabolites of lorazepam that remain in your system for longer than a week.

How long does Valium stay in your system?

The half-life of Valium is long and may remain in the system for up to 10 days.

How long does Halcion stay in your system?

Halcion is detectable in a person’s body for up to two days.

How long does Librium stay in your system?

Librium has a relatively long half-life, and the duration it remains in the system may vary from person to person. However, Librium is detectable from in the urine for up to 1 to 6 weeks, hair test for up to 90 days, on a saliva test for up to 1 to 10 days, and a blood test for up to 6 to 48 hours.

How long does Rohypnol stay in your system?

The effects of Rohypnol may last for up to 12 hours and is detectable through a urine test for up to 72 hours.

How long does Xanax stay in your system?

Xanax may remain in a person’s body for up to 2 to 4 days before it clears completely.

How long does Klonopin stay in your system?

Klonopin is detectable in a urine test for up to a month, hair test for up to 28 days, and on a saliva test for up to 5 to 6 days.

Benzodiazepines in Your System

In addition to the factors mentioned above, the metabolism speed of a person’s body also plays a key role in determining the half-life of benzodiazepines. When you increase the doses of the drug over time, the drug starts to leave behind more evidence, making it easier to identify its presence in the body. An individual with a quick metabolism who takes in small doses of the drug will test negative sooner than an individual who has a slower metabolism and who takes the drug in larger doses.

Detecting Benzodiazepine Use

There are many situations that require an individual to undergo drug tests. Here are few such examples:

  • Most companies require new employees to undergo drug tests before starting their job.
  • Legal systems require either party involved in a parole or child custody case to undergo drug tests.
  • Professional sports and athletics organizations implement drug tests on athletes regularly when suspicion arises with regards to enhanced performance.

The majority of these tests do not specifically look for the drug itself. On the contrary, they look for metabolites, which is the scientific term for substances that are left over after your body metabolizes the drug. These particles stick around for longer than the actual drug and help professionals in determining what drug was ingested and when it was taken.

Types of Drug Testing

Our body works as a cohesive system to scatter byproducts all over the body once the drug is metabolized. Therefore, in order to test different parts of the body, several organizations undertake various types of tests, such as:

Urine Testing

This is the most common type of testing performed in various situations and is by far the most accurate, depending on the substance. This test measures the metabolites that are filtered through the kidneys.

Saliva Testing

This test is most accurate when conducted within a few hours of drug consumption. When the 12-hour mark has passed after the last drug dose, the accuracy is not guaranteed. This type of testing is regarded as a less invasive test in comparison to a urine test.

Hair Testing

This method can identify drug use within the past three months. However, this method is significantly underutilized as most parties prefer testing to detect contemporary drug use.

Blood Testing

This type of drug test is less common in the industry but is very accurate when performed within a few days of drug use. The results are available right after the test is performed, but the test is highly invasive and expensive.

Perspiration Testing

A relatively new and widely underutilized test in the market. This is most commonly used in parole cases to identify long-term drug usage and can take around two weeks for completion.

Benzodiazepines: Detectable Timeframe by Urine Test

  • Valium – 10 – 30 days
  • Xanax – 5 days
  • Klonopin – 5 days
  • Ativan – 5 days
  • Halcion – 7 – 15 hours
  • Ambient – 1 day

(Timeframe may vary depending on a number of factors and thus, should not be taken as a firm guideline).

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