The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the duration of pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE) on subsequent cognitive function in rats. SE was induced by pilocarpine (320 mg/kg i.p.) and was terminated by injection of 1 mg/kg diazepam at 30, 60 and 90 min in 3 groups of 10 rats each. Cognitive function was tested by a passive avoidance task and was assessed at the baseline and on days 1, 7, 14 and 21 (post SE). It was found that cognitive function was disrupted on days 7, 14 and 21 post SE in rats who had SE for 60 and 90 min, whereas it was not affected in rats that had 30 min of SE. Hence, the duration of SE may affect future cognitive performance and mandates emergency treatment.