Updated at: 12-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Are you wondering how long after taking Xanax you can enjoy a drink safely?

This article will guide you through the risks of mixing these substances, as well as provide insights on safe practices.

Read on to learn more about navigating this important health concern.

The Interaction Between Xanax and Alcohol

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Why alcohol and Xanax should not be mixed

Mixing alcohol and Xanax is a dangerous game. Both substances are central nervous system depressants, which means they slow down brain activity. Combined, they can intensify each other’s effects leading to severe drowsinessbreathing problemsimpaired motor controlabnormal behaviors and memory problems.

The combination also increases the risk of overdose. Due to their synergistic effect, both substances in your body may reach toxic levels much quicker than when consumed independently.

According to the FDA guidelines, it’s advised to wait until Xanax is completely out of your system before drinking alcohol due to these potential risks.

Furthermore, consuming alcohol while on Xanax could lead to an increase in side effects such as confusion and clumsiness — risking injuries from falls or accidents.

Notably for older adults who have a longer elimination period for Xanax with an average half-life of 16.3 hours; combining with alcohol could significantly heighten these adverse reactions.

The dangers of combining the two substances

Consuming alcohol while taking Xanax can have dangerous consequences. The combination of these two substances can lead to increased sedation and drowsiness, impair coordination and judgment, and even increase the risk of overdose and respiratory depression.

Xanax is a medication prescribed for anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and other related conditions. It works by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter responsible for calming the brain’s activity levels.

Alcohol also affects GABA receptors in the brain but acts differently than Xanax by increasing GABA release. When combined, these substances intensify each other’s effects on the central nervous system, leading to an enhanced sedative effect that can be incredibly dangerous.

How Long to Wait After Taking Xanax Before Drinking

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How long Xanax stays in the body

The half-life of Xanax is typically around 12 to 15 hours for most individuals.

This means that it takes about this amount of time for the drug to be reduced by half in the bloodstream. However, it’s important to note that factors such as age, metabolism, liver function, and dosage can affect how long Xanax stays in your system.

For example, older adults may experience a longer elimination period for Xanax with an average half-life of 16.3 hours. Additionally, if you’re taking higher doses or have impaired liver function, it may take even longer for Xanax to completely leave your system.

To ensure the safety and effectiveness of any interaction with alcohol after taking Xanax, it is recommended to wait until the drug is completely out of your system before consuming alcohol.

The FDA suggests waiting several days or even weeks after taking Xanax before drinking alcohol.

Factors that affect metabolism and elimination

  • Age: Older adults may have a slower metabolism and elimination of Xanax compared to younger individuals.
  • Liver function: People with liver problems may take longer to metabolize and eliminate Xanax from their system.
  • Kidney function: Individuals with impaired kidney function may also experience a delay in the elimination of Xanax.
  • Dosage: Higher doses of Xanax can take longer to metabolize and eliminate from the body.
  • Frequency of use: If Xanax is taken on a regular basis, it may accumulate in the body, extending the time it takes to be eliminated.
  • Other medicationsCertain medications can interfere with the metabolism and elimination of Xanax, prolonging its effects.
  • Overall health: General health conditions can influence how quickly Xanax is processed and removed from the body.

Support and resources available

If you or someone you know is struggling with the misuse of Xanax and alcohol, it’s important to seek professional help. There are various support and resources available for individuals dealing with addiction and substance abuse.

Rehab centers, counseling services, and support groups can provide the necessary guidance and assistance on the journey to recovery. Remember that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of these valuable resources that can make a significant difference in your life.


While there isn’t an exact time frame for when it is safe to drink after taking Xanax, healthcare professionals generally recommend waiting at least 3 hours or until the medication has completely cleared from your system.

It is always best to prioritize your safety and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions about consuming alcohol while on Xanax.