We assessed whether duration (time since diagnosis) of intractable epilepsy is associated with progressive memory loss in 250 individuals with left or right temporal lobe epilepsy and those diagnosed with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Verbal and nonverbal memory function was assessed using several memory assessment measures administered to all individuals as part of a larger neuropsychological assessment. Multivariate multiple regression analyses demonstrated that duration of temporal lobe epilepsy and age of seizure onset are significantly related to verbal memory deficits in patients with epilepsy. The interaction between duration of epilepsy and diagnostic group was nonsignificant, as was the interaction between age at spell onset and diagnostic group. As measured by several neuropsychological memory tests, duration of disease adversely affects verbal memory performance in patients diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. Our study also supports the notion that age at seizure onset significantly affects verbal memory performance in this population. These results have implications for the strategy of treatment and counseling of patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.